Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip receive coronavirus vaccine

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LONDON – British Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and her husband Prince Philip, 99, have received coronavirus shots, officials at Buckingham Palace said on Saturday.

The royal family rarely comment on the health of the monarch or members of his family, but said the announcement was made to avoid inaccuracies or speculation.

“The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh today received vaccinations against Covid-19,” a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

The pandemic has hit the UK.

It has the highest death toll in Europe – just over 81,000 people, according to data from Johns Hopkins University – and is in the midst of severe social restrictions as hospitals say they are overwhelmed.

The emergence in the UK of a more contagious mutant strain of Covid-19 has also led to an increase in cases.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stepped up vaccination efforts this week, with the elderly and vulnerable among the priority groups. Johnson said on Tuesday that more 1.3 million people across the UK had been vaccinated.

It is not known which vaccine the queen and her husband received.

British drugmaker AstraZeneca’s inoculation, carried out in collaboration with the University of Oxford in the UK, received regulatory approval in December, while the UK grabbed global headlines by becoming the first Western country to deploy the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the beginning of the same month.

British regulators on Friday approved a third vaccine, per Moderna, but said it would not be available until spring.

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Last year, Queen Elizabeth urged her subjects to show the same “quiet determination and good humor” that characterized previous generations, in a rare televised address meant to rally the spirits of the nation.

The royal family has not been immune to the virus, with the Queen’s son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, having tested positive for Covid-19 in March of last year, but quickly recovered.

Charles’s son, Prince William, and his wife, Kate, were vocally defend the national health service. Kate, who celebrated her 39th birthday on Friday tweeted its support for those on the front lines.

The lives of royals have been garnering renewed interest recently, as many locked-down viewers watched season four of the Netflix series ‘The Crown’.

For the first time, the series starred Princess Diana, causing a stir as British politicians urged Netflix to clarify that the series was fictional.

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