Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Receive Coronavirus Vaccine

FILE – In this file photo dated Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, wait for their car following the traditional Christmas Day church service, at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, England. Buckingham Palace said in a statement Tuesday April 3, 2018, that Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, has been admitted to hospital for a previously scheduled hip surgery, that is expected to be carried out Wednesday. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, FILE)

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and her husband Prince Philip, 99, have received vaccines against the coronavirus, officials from Buckingham Palace said Saturday.

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

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

The pandemic has pummeled the United Kingdom.

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 U.K. of a more contagious mutant strain of Covid-19, has also led to a surge in cases.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accelerated vaccine efforts this week, with the elderly and vulnerable among the priority groups. On Tuesday, Johnson said that over 1.3 million people across the U.K. had been vaccinated.

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

British drugmaker AstraZeneca’s inoculation made in collaboration with the U.K.’s Oxford University, received regulatory approval in December, while the U.K. made global headlines when it became the first Western country to roll-out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine earlier that same month.

On Friday, U.K. regulators approved a third vaccine, by Moderna, but said it wouldn’t be available until the spring.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Adela Suliman

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