Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, have received their Covid-19 vaccinations, royal officials have revealed.
Buckingham Palace officials said in a statement that the 94-year-old monarch and Philip, 99, received their jabs overnight NZ time, joining some 1.5 million people in Britain who have been given a first dose of a vaccine.
The injections were administered at Windsor Castle, where the queen and her husband have been spending their time during the lockdown in England.
Royal officials said they took the rare step of commenting on the monarch's health in order to prevent inaccuracies and further speculation. The queen "decided that she would let it be known she has had the vaccination," the palace statement said.
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On Dec. 8, Britain became the world's first country to begin a mass vaccination drive against the coronavirus. The government says it is aiming to deliver the first vaccine doses to some 15 million people in the top priority groups by the middle of February.
That includes everyone over age 70, as well as frontline health care workers, care home residents and anyone whose health makes them especially vulnerable to the virus.
Another 1,035 people in the U.K. have died within 28 days of testing positive for the coronavirus, bringing the country's total death toll in the pandemic to over 80,000.
The British government reported Saturday that the number of confirmed deaths has reached 80,868, the most in Europe and the world's fifth-highest pandemic death toll. The United States, Brazil, India and Mexico are in the top four.
Hospitals around the U.K. are under heavy pressure treating Covid patients. London's mayor declared the capital's Covid situation to be critical Friday, when the country's daily reported deaths hit a record high of 1,325.
Official data also show that the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.K. has exceeded 3 million.