Italian prime minister gets AstraZeneca vaccine

Italian prime minister gets AstraZeneca vaccine
Prime Minister Mario Draghi visits a vaccination hub earlier this month. Photo: GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE / POOL / AFP
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi received his first dose of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday, his office said, in an announcement intended to show support for the jab.

The PM and his wife, Maria Serenella Cappello, got their jabs at a pop-up vaccination centre at Rome’s central Termini station, a spokesman said.

Draghi and Cappello, both 73, were eligible for vaccination by age group in the Lazio region, which extended the campaign to people in their 70s earlier this month and is now vaccinating people in their late 60s and up.

Italy paused use of the AstraZeneca/Oxford jabs for several days earlier this month following fears of a link to blot clots, before the European Medicines Agency gave the all-clear.

The World Health Organization has also said the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe to use.

Draghi, who took office last month, has promised to ramp up the number of vaccinations in Italy, which was the first European country to face the full force of the pandemic and is currently battling a third wave.

READ ALSO: Johnson & Johnson vaccine expected to arrive in Italy in mid-April

Another 3 million doses are due to be delivered to Italy “by the end of the month“, according to Covid-19 emergency commissioner Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, while the single-shot Johnson & Johnson is expected to arrive from April 19th.

Most of Italy remains under tight restrictions, although schools and nurseries reopened in the Lazio region surrounding Rome on Tuesday for the first time in two weeks, after it was reclassified from a “red zone” to a lower-risk “orange zone”.

The whole country will be put under a “red zone” lockdown over the long Easter weekend from April 3rd to 5th in a bid to limit  new cases of Covid-19.

More than 108,000 people have died of the coronavirus so far in Italy, according to the official health ministry toll, while just over 3 million have been fully vaccinated.

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