“Yes I would take the AstraZeneca vaccine,” she told journalists at a news conference, adding however she “would like to wait until it’s my turn but I would in any case”.
Merkel’s firm endorsement of the vaccine came after its use was suspended for several days this week by major European countries, including Germany, over fears that it may cause blood clots.
Europe’s medicines regulator EMA on Thursday cleared it for use after a review of the clotting cases, saying the vaccine was “safe and effective”.
But questions surrounding the jab jointly developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford were revived when France on Friday recommended it should be given only to people aged 55 and over because of the clotting risks.
Germany on Friday resumed use of the Anglo-Swedish company’s jabs, and politicians have taken pains to assure the population of the vaccine’s safety.
Winfried Kretschmann, state premier of Baden-Württemberg, got an AstraZeneca jab live on television.
“Have trust, get vaccinated,” he said in an appeal to the population. AstraZeneca has faced a series of setbacks since it was approved for use in the European Union.
Besides delivery delays that angered the bloc, Germany had in the initial weeks of its use limited it to people under 65-years-old because of insufficient efficacy data for older people.
Critics had complained that the decision to halt use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine over the recent days because of clotting risks only served to fuel more mistrust over the jabs and further delay Germany’s already sluggish inoculation programme.