LONDON – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and her husband Prince Philip, 99, have received vaccines against the coronavirus, Buckingham Palace officials said on Saturday.
The royal family rarely commented on the health of the monarch or her family members, but said the announcement was made to prevent inaccuracies or speculation.
“The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh received Covid-19 vaccinations today,” a Buckingham Palace spokesman said in a statement.
The pandemic hit the UK.
It has the highest death toll in Europe – a little over 81,000 people, according to Data from Johns Hopkins University – and is in the midst of severe social constraints as hospitals say they are overwhelmed.
The emergence of a contagious mutant strain of Covid-19 in the UK has also caused spikes in some cases.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week accelerated vaccination efforts, with the elderly and the vulnerable as a priority. Johnson said that over on Tuesday 1.3 million people had been vaccinated in the UK.
It is not known what vaccine the queen and her husband received.
UK drug maker AstraZeneca’s vaccination, carried out in partnership with Oxford University in the UK, received regulatory approval in December, while the UK made headlines around the world when it became the first western country to introduce the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine earlier that month .
On Friday, UK regulators approved a third vaccine from Moderna but said it wouldn’t be available until the spring.
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Last year, Queen Elizabeth urged her subjects to show the same “calm, good-humored determination” that marked previous generations in a rare televised address designed to raise the mood of the nation.
The royal family wasn’t immune to the virus. The Queen’s son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, tested positive for Covid-19 in March last year, but recovered quickly.
There has been renewed interest in the lives of the royals lately as many banned viewers have discontinued season four of the Netflix series “The Crown”.
The series first showed Princess Diana, which caused a stir when British politicians called on Netflix to make it clear that the show is fiction.