The prime minister has said he will be getting his coronavirus vaccination “very shortly”.

Boris Johnson revealed during PMQs that he has been called up for a COVID-19 jab.

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“It will certainly be Oxford-AstraZeneca that I will be having,” the 56-year-old told the Commons.

Everyone aged 50 and over in England is now being invited to book a coronavirus vaccination on the NHS website.

The PM was asked to comment on the decision of more than a dozen EU countries to suspend use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab after reports of some people suffering blood clots after being vaccinated.

It comes as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened to block vaccine exports to the UK and other countries with markedly higher rollouts of jabs.

“We are exporting a lot to countries that are themselves producing vaccines and we think this is an invitation to be open, so that we also see exports from those countries coming back to the European Union,” she said.

“The second point that is of importance to us: we will reflect on whether exports to countries who have higher vaccination rates than us are still proportionate.”

Responding to this, the PM’s spokesman said the government expects Brussels to “stand by its commitment” not to “restrict exports by companies where they are fulfilling their contractual responsibilities”.

A World Health Organisation vaccine safety panel has said it considers the benefits of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab outweigh its risks and is recommending that vaccinations continue.

“The WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety is carefully assessing the latest available safety data for the AstraZeneca vaccine,” it said in a statement.

“Once that review is completed, WHO will immediately communicate the findings to the public.”

Likewise, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said it will conduct a full scientific review of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, but said it “remains convinced” that the benefits of having it outweigh the risk.

It said the number of thromboembolic events (blood clots) in people inoculated does not seem higher than among the general population.

The EMA added that as of 10 March, a total of 30 cases of blood clotting had been reported among almost five million people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot in the European Economic Area, which links 30 European countries.

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford group that developed the vaccine, said there is “very reassuring evidence there is no increase in a blood clot phenomenon here in the UK, where most of the doses in Europe have been given so far”.

AstraZeneca has said there is no cause for concern, adding that it had conducted a review covering more than 17 million people vaccinated in the EU and the UK which had shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.

And Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Tuesday that the vaccine was safe, urging Britons: “If you get the call, get the jab.”

Asked if there was any evidence of people turning down the vaccine, the health secretary replied: “We’re still getting huge numbers of people vaccinated every day, and in fact the numbers yesterday were one of the highest numbers that we’ve seen.”

Mr Hancock added: “The enthusiasm for getting the vaccine is incredibly strong and we’re still seeing that.”

(c) Sky News 2021: COVID-19: Boris Johnson says he will be getting a coronavirus vaccine ‘very shortly’


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