German finance minister says to receive AstraZeneca COVID vaccine

FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz speaks during a session of the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said he was due to receive his first shot of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.

"I have always said I would get vaccinated when it is my turn," the 62-year-old politician told journalists on Friday. "Today is the day. Immediately afterwards, I will receive a jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine."

According to German media reports, Chancellor Angela Merkel, 66, will also receive the AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday. The chancellery declined to confirm the reports.

Germany's vaccine regulator has recommended limiting the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine to those aged over 60, citing risks of a rare clotting condition.

Questions over the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as a similar one made by Johnson & Johnson threaten to undermine public confidence in the low-cost shots, which authorities had been counting on in the fight against a pandemic that has claimed more than 3 million lives worldwide.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, a former minister in Merkel's government, received a shot of the vaccine made by BioNTech and Pfizer on Thursday.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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