German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2021.

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 66, received a first shot of AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday.
  • Earlier guidance called for only under-65s to get it, at which point Merkel said she would not.
  • The rules later flipped to advise only those over 60 to get it, and so Merkel did.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel received the AstraZeneca Covid19 vaccine on Friday, a reversal of an earlier position when she said she would not take the shot.

Merkel's spokesperson Steffen Seibert posted a photograph of her paperwork to Twitter, along with a statement. Unlike numerous other politicians and public figures, she was not photographed getting the shot.

"I am happy that I received the first vaccination with AstraZeneca today," the statement said.

"I would like to thank everyone who is involved in the vaccination campaign - and everyone who is vaccinated. Vaccination is the key to overcoming the pandemic."

Merkel received the shot Berlin's Tempelhof Airport, the Deutsche Welle (DW) public broadcaster reported.

At first, the AstraZeneca vaccine was approved in Germany only for people under the age of 65, which put Merkel a 66-year-old, just over the threshold.

In February when asked if she would get the shot, Merkel said she wouldn't, saying she was too old for it.

Since then Germany - along with much of the EU - has had a strained relationship with the AstraZeneca vaccine since its rollout and has changed its rules over who should have it.

Germany initially raised questions about its efficacy and, more recently, about reports of rare blood clots in its recipients. There have also been political clashes between the EU and the UK over access to its supply.

It has resulted in a low uptake of the shot. Merkel said as much in February, commenting: "There is currently an acceptance problem with the AstraZeneca vaccine."

By the end of March, Germany had suspended the use of the vaccine to anyone under 60 following reports of recipients experiencing blood clots. According to the Associated Press, at that time 31 people in Germany had had blood clots after getting their shots.

In April, European regulators classified the clots a "very rare" side effect of AstraZeneca's vaccine.

Experts have told Insider that the risks have been overblown, and have questioned the strength of the connection.

Amid the various rows, Merkel has been asked numerous times if she would get the shot, DW reported

Her response, the outlet said, was always that she would await her turn. "When it's my turn, I'll get vaccinated, including with AstraZeneca," DW reported her as saying consistently.


Receive a daily news update on your cellphone. Or get the best of our site emailed to you

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.