Queen Elizabeth II said her coronavirus jab “didn’t hurt at all” and urged those wary of receiving the vaccine to “think about other people.”
The 94-year-old monarch was vaccinated along with her husband Prince Philip in January, telling health officials leading the rollout in a video call that she now felt “protected”.
“It was very quick, and I’ve had lots of letters from people who have been very surprised by how easy it was to get the vaccine. And the jab – it didn’t hurt at all,” she said.
“Once you’ve had the vaccine you have a feeling of, you know, you’re protected, which is I think very important. It is obviously difficult for people if they’ve never had a vaccine... but they ought to think about other people rather than themselves.”
Global economic relaunch
G20 finance ministers and central bankers were meeting Friday to align plans to relaunch the global economy after the coronavirus pandemic and to limit the harm to the worst-off nations shut out of the race for vaccines.
The video conference, which Italy was chairing as G20 president, is the first such meeting in post for US President Joe Biden’s new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who is expected to be far less confrontational than Donald Trump’s representatives at past gatherings.
On Thursday, Washington urged wealthy G20 countries to launch a truly global, coordinated vaccination campaign.
“Without access to vaccines, low-income countries in particular will experience further tragic loss of life and needlessly delay their economic recoveries,” Yellen wrote in an open letter to her G20 finance counterparts.
Vaccine rollout on track
The United States hailed progress in turning around its troubled COVID-19 vaccine rollout, as the European Union said it was on track to meet jab targets and Asia’s inoculation drive gained pace on Friday.
President Joe Biden declared the US rollout is now “weeks ahead of schedule” as he celebrated 50 million doses administered since he took office on January 20, but he warned Americans to keep masking up. AFP
“We’re moving in the right direction despite the mess we inherited,” Biden said, referring to the program under his predecessor Donald Trump.
Rollouts in Asia also gathered momentum as Hong Kong and South Korea began their mass vaccination programs on Friday.
Both places were among the first to experience outbreaks after the coronavirus spread from central China early last year, but have kept infections comparatively low.
State of emergency lifted
Japan will end a coronavirus state of emergency early in some regions as the pace of infection slows, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday, less than five months before the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics are due to begin.
The emergency measure – currently in force in 10 regions including Tokyo – is looser than the strict lockdowns seen elsewhere in the world, and primarily calls for bars and restaurants to close from 8 p.m.
It is due to end on March 7, but the government will lift the measure this Sunday, just over a week early, in six prefectures that are far from the Japanese capital, Suga said. AFP