UK vaccine rollout set to begin with queen in line for jab

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine within weeks, reports on Sunday said, as the biggest immunisation programme in UK history begins next week.

The monarch, 94, and her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip are in line to get the jab early in the rollout, which gets underway Tuesday, due to their age and will not receive preferential treatment, several newspapers reported.

Britain’s most senior royals will “let it be known” they have been given the inoculations “as a powerful counter to the anti-vaccination movement,” the Sunday Times said.

The Mail on Sunday added they hope “to encourage more people to take up the vital jab”.

The queen has spent much of the pandemic in self-isolation in Windsor because of her age, and will this year forego her traditional family Christmas at her Sandringham estate in eastern England with other royals.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman declined to comment on the vaccination reports, noting “medical decisions are taken personally”.

Britain on Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and health officials have already drawn up criteria based on age and vulnerability to decide who will receive it first. (AFP)