Mexican president gets Covid vaccine, says 'no risk'

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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador receives his first dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine after his daily news conference

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday received his first dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and urged all senior citizens to be immunized, reassuring them it was safe.

"It doesn't hurt and it also helps a lot. It protects us all," the 67-year-old said shortly after getting the injection in front of the media following his daily news conference.

"I appeal again to all older adults to get vaccinated. There's no risk," added Lopez Obrador, who reported the previous day that residents of 13 Mexican municipalities were refusing to get the shot.

Rare but serious blood clots among younger recipients have affected public confidence in AstraZeneca's vaccine, particularly in Europe, but the World Health Organization has said the benefits outweigh the risks.

The vaccine is one of the mainstays of the coronavirus immunization program in Mexico, whose official Covid-19 death toll of more than 212,000 is the world's third highest.

Lopez Obrador, who has a history of heart problems and hypertension, announced in February that he had overcome the coronavirus after being treated with antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs.

His government has promised to make vaccinations available free of charge to everyone.

The country of 126 million people has applied more than 14 million doses so far.

As well as the AstraZeneca shot, it has received coronavirus vaccines from US drugs giant Pfizer, China's CanSino and Sinovac, as well as Russia's Sputnik V.

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