Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, received Covid-19 vaccines on Saturday, according to Buckingham Palace, a day after Britain approved a third vaccine and as the country faced one of its deadliest weeks since the pandemic began.
The couple was vaccinated at Windsor Castle, the palace said in a statement, but it was not immediately clear which vaccine the queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, received.
Britain started its vaccination rollout last month with the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. It has since approved two other vaccines: last week, the one developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and Moderna’s on Friday.
A royal source said the queen had decided to make her vaccination public to prevent inaccuracies and speculation. The palace’s statement said no further details would be provided.
The queen’s vaccination comes amid a surge of cases that have been attributed to a new variant of the virus and as Britain entered a new national lockdown..
On Saturday, 1,035 people died of the coronavirus in Britain, a day after health officials reported the highest daily death toll since the pandemic started, with 1,325 deaths. Britain has been the worst-hit country in Europe, with nearly 80,000 deaths.
The queen and Prince Philip have joined over 1.3 million people who have been vaccinated in Britain, where priority has been given to residents in nursing homes and people over 80. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he aims to have nearly 15 million of the nation’s most vulnerable people vaccinated by mid-February.
“Our hospitals are under more pressure than at any other time since the start of the pandemic, and infection rates continue to soar at an alarming rate,” Mr. Johnson said on Twitter on Saturday.
“The vaccine rollout has given us renewed hope, but it’s critical for now we stay at home, protect the N.H.S. and save lives,” he added, referring to the National Health Service.
The queen spoke about the impact of the pandemic in her annual Christmas speech.
“This time of year will be tinged with sadness,” she said. “Some mourning the loss of those dear to them, and others missing friends and family members distanced for safety.”