Premier Boris Johnson gives an update on the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic during a virtual press conference at 10 Downing Street on 18 March 2021 in London, England.
Tolga Akmen – WPA Swimming Pool | Getty Images
LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to receive the first dose of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford on Friday to reassure the public that the vaccine is safe and effective.
Johnson, 56, has called on other people to be vaccinated against Covid-19, citing data from the UK’s independent drug regulator showing that the benefits outweigh the risks.
A flood of countries around the world have suspended the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as a precaution following reports of blood clots in some vaccines. Health experts sharply criticized the move, citing a lack of data, while analysts expressed concern about the impact on vaccine intake as the virus continues to spread.
British and EU regulators have said there is no evidence that the Covid vaccine caused blood clots. The World Health Organization also said the benefits of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine outweighed the risks and recommended continuing with vaccinations.
Johnson said at a conference in Downing Street on Thursday that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, but ‘the thing that is not safe is catching Covid, which is why it’s so important that we all get our stabs once we turn came. ‘
The British leader himself was treated in hospital for Covid-19 in April last year and spent days in an intensive care unit.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex is also expected to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday.
Germany, France, Italy and Spain are among those in Europe who say they will resume the vaccine after the European drug regulator declared it safe and effective. Indonesia, which had previously delayed the administration of the shot, said on Friday that the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine had been approved.
However, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have said they will stop using the vaccine while conducting their own independent investigations.
The UK, which did not interrupt the roll-out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, said delays in supplying vaccines next month would not affect the English roadmap beyond the consequences.
A health worker holds a box containing the AstraZeneneca vaccine at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi province on the outskirts of Bangkok.
Chaiwat Subprasom | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images
The National Health Service warned next month of a “significant decline” in the weekly supply of Covid vaccines in England, after fewer doses than initially expected arrived from India.
Johnson said there was no change to the government’s plan to facilitate public health restraint measures, and insisted the roadmap is “on track” despite an unexpected drop in vaccine stocks.
To date, more than 4.2 million people have contracted Covid in the UK, with 126,163 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.