German Health minister defends AstraZeneca vaccine

The company logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S.

Germany’s health minister says he personally would be prepared “without hesitation” to get the AstraZeneca vaccine, but it isn’t his turn yet.

On Tuesday, Germany’s independent vaccine expert panel said AstraZeneca shots shouldn’t routinely be given to under-60s because of a rise in reported cases of unusual blood clots in the days after vaccination.

The German government followed the recommendation and said the vaccine would be prioritized for people age 60 and older, although exceptions can be made in consultation with doctors.

Health Minister Jens Spahn, who is 40, was asked Thursday whether he would be prepared to get the vaccine. He replied: “Yes, I would get vaccinated without reservation and without hesitation with AstraZeneca too.”

He said cases have to be looked at individually. Spahn said there are situations where there is a risk of a blood clot but “because I, without having consulted intensively with a doctor, don’t see this risk for me, I personally would be prepared” to take the vaccine.

But Spahn, who defended this week’s decisions, noted that his turn to get vaccinated is some way off.

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