Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has a message for people opposed to vaccines or hesitant about the shots: One is not amused.
Her Majesty spoke out for the first time about getting a “jab,” as she called it. In a video call with British health officials leading the vaccination rollout effort, the monarch said that getting the vaccine was “very quick” and “didn’t hurt at all.”
“Once you’ve had the vaccine, you have a feeling of, you know, you’re protected, which is I think very important,” she said.
She also urged people to think about others. “It is obviously difficult for people if they’ve never had a vaccine … but they ought to think about other people rather than themselves.”
The video call was released to the media on Thursday evening and featured on many of the front pages of British newspapers Friday.
It is rare for the queen to publicly weigh in on issues of public health. But on the subject of vaccines, she has a history of support. In 1957, amid concerns about a new vaccine introduced to combat polio, the queen let it be known that her children, Charles and Anne, then 8 and 6, had received vaccinations.
Last month, the queen, 94, and her husband Prince Philip, 99, were given their shots by a royal household doctor at Windsor Castle. (Philip is now in a London hospital, where he is being treated for an infection unrelated to coronavirus.)
Britain has reported high vaccine participation, but there are concerns about uptake in specific groups, including minorities and health-care staff.
Some suggested that remarks from the queen could help to sway the vaccine-hesitant.
David Salisbury, former director of immunization at Britain’s Department of Health, told the BBC that her intervention was “hugely helpful … to say so clearly, that there are two beneficiaries from immunization, there’s yourself and there’s other people.”