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Queen, Prince Philip given Covid-19 jab as UK cases top 3 mn


LONDON: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip received Covid-19 vaccinations on Saturday, Buckingham Palace said, as the country surpassed three million cases since the pandemic began last year.
A source told the domestic Press Association news agency that the 94-year-old queen and Philip, 99, were given the injections by a royal household doctor at Windsor Castle.
“The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have today received Covid-19 vaccinations,” a Buckingham Palace spokesman said, in a rare public comment on the private health matters of the long-serving monarch.
It is understood the queen decided the information should be made public to prevent inaccuracies and speculation.
No further details about the vaccinations were released.
The queen and Philip have spent much of the pandemic in self-isolation at Windsor because of their advanced age, and this year cancelled their traditional family Christmas at her Sandringham estate in eastern England.
More than 1.5 million people in Britain have so far received virus jabs, as the biggest immunisation programme in its history ramps up with priority given to the elderly, their carers and health workers.
The country, which has so far begun administering two types of approved vaccines, is racing to inoculate as many people as possible as a coronavirus variant pushes infections and deaths to unprecedented levels.
Britain on Saturday passed the grim milestone of three million cases during the pandemic, after the government announced another 59,937 new cases.
It also recorded another 1,035 fatalities from the virus, taking the total death toll to 80,868, one of the highest in Europe alongside Italy.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a third stay-at-home order at the start of the week as cases continue to spiral since Christmas.
Medical chiefs are racing to boost treatment capacity as hospitals risked being overwhelmed, while the government steps up its mass inoculation campaign.
It is banking on the rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines to halt the spread of the virus.
UK regulators also this week approved US firm Moderna’s Covid vaccine — the third to be authorised for use across the country.
The government aims to have inoculated 15 million of the most vulnerable groups, including frontline NHS staff, by mid-February, and has deployed the armed forces to help with the rollout.


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