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Boris Johnson will be getting the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab 'very shortly'

Boris Johnson insisted the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is safe despite more countries suspending its use.. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Boris Johnson has said he is due to have his Covid-19 vaccine shortly and it will “be Oxford/AstraZeneca”.

In a show of support for the jab, which more than a dozen European countries have stopped using, the British Prime Minister told MPs: “I think perhaps the best thing I can say about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine programme is that I finally got news that I’m going to have my own jab very shortly, I’m pleased to discover…

“But it will certainly be Oxford/AstraZeneca that I will be having.”

Mr Johnson’s comments came after a leading expert said people across Europe will die from Covid-19 as a direct consequence of the decision to halt rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Professor Jeremy Brown, from the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said the move by several European countries to suspend the vaccine over blood clot fears was “not sensible” and was “not logical”.

British cabinet minister Kwasi Kwarteng signalled that he thought European political opinion was changing about the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab following the decision by a host of national governments to pause its use.

Pressed on why European countries were waiting for further analysis, he told BBC Breakfast: “That’s probably a question you should direct to ministers in those countries – there has been a lot of debate, as I understand, in Europe about this.

“The latest information that I’ve seen is that both France and Italy have said the AstraZeneca jab is fine – in fact, I think the French prime minister Jean Castex has said publicly he will take the AstraZeneca jab.”

Asked whether he thought the decision to pause had been political, the Business Secretary added: “I’m not here to comment on European politics, I’m not a commentator on that.

“What I can say is what I see – I see lots of people in this country, millions of people, taking the vaccine, they are very happy to do so, it is giving people a lot of confidence and I’m very pleased that, on the Prime Minister’s road map, I think we can hit those targets and reopen the economy by June 21 and get things moving again in this country.”

Mr Kwarteng said the Covid rates in the UK were dropping “because of the vaccination”.

Mr Kwarteng told BBC Breakfast: “The first thing I would like to say is that the jab is safe.

“We’ve got an extremely effective rollout programme – I think by the end of the week 50% of the British adult population will have been vaccinated – and if people do get the call, I think they should take the jab.

“And we are looking at the effects of the vaccine rollout day by day.

“Hospitalisation rates have fallen, the death rate thankfully from the disease has fallen considerably and incidence of people catching Covid has also fallen – the R rate is well below 1.0 and I think it has been a very effective programme.”

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