Colombia's President Duque offers to receive AstraZeneca vaccine to show safety

FILE PHOTO: Colombia’s President Ivan Duque speaks during an interview with Reuters in Bogota, Colombia, March 12, 2021. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s President Ivan Duque on Friday offered to receive the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca to demonstrate its safety, following concerns over blood clotting.

Safety worries caused at least 13 European countries to stop administering the AstraZeneca vaccine, slowing inoculation campaigns across the European Union.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries to keep administering the vaccine as it added its endorsement to that of European and British regulators.

Duque told Colombia’s Health Minister Fernando Ruiz that while he has so far waited to receive a vaccine, he would accept the AstraZeneca jab to reassure people of its safety.

“I say very clearly that, if the fact that me receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, as president of the republic, will bring peace of mind about that vaccine…I will do it when you tell me,” Duque told Ruiz during his nightly broadcast.

Colombia has reported more than 2.3 million coronavirus infections and 61,771 deaths. So far, the country has administered more than 1 million vaccine doses.

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