German chancellor Angela Merkel received her first shot of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine on Friday, her spokesman said on Twitter.
"I am happy that I received the first vaccination with AstraZeneca," the Twitter post quoted Ms Merkel, 66, as saying.
"Vaccinations are the key to overcoming the pandemic," she added in the quote.
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.
Kanzlerin #Merkel: „Ich freue mich, dass ich heute die Erstimpfung mit AstraZeneca bekommen habe. Ich danke allen, die sich in der Impfkampagne engagieren – und allen, die sich impfen lassen. Das Impfen ist der Schlüssel, um die Pandemie zu überwinden.“ pic.twitter.com/P4kMJYNrlc
— Steffen Seibert (@RegSprecherStS) April 16, 2021
Questions over the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as another viral vector 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 three million lives worldwide.
German finance minister Olaf Scholz also received a first shot of AstraZeneca's vaccine earlier on Friday.
"I have always said I would get vaccinated when it is my turn," the 62-year-old politician told journalists ahead of receiving his jab. "Today is the day."
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, a former minister in Ms Merkel's government, received a shot of the vaccine made by BioNTech and Pfizer on Thursday.