The First Man in Britain to Receive an Approved Covid-19 Vaccine, Dies at 81

William Shakespeare, the person with a well-known title who impressed headline writers throughout Britain final yr when he turned the second particular person in the nation to obtain a coronavirus vaccine, has died after struggling a stroke, his household stated in a press release. He was 81.

Since Mr. Shakespeare was vaccinated on Dec. eight at University Hospital, Coventry, in central England, 57 p.c of Britain’s inhabitants has acquired at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, one of many highest vaccination charges in the world.

On Tuesday, individuals older than 30 in Britain turned eligible to obtain a vaccine.

In a press release launched via the hospital the place Mr. Shakespeare was vaccinated, his spouse of 53 years, Joy, stated he had been grateful for changing into one of many first individuals to be vaccinated towards the coronavirus.

“It was something he was hugely proud of,” she stated. “He loved seeing the media coverage and the positive difference he was able to make to the lives of so many.”

“He often talked to people about it and would always encourage everyone to get their vaccine whenever he could,” she stated.

Mr. Shakespeare died on Thursday at the hospital the place he had been vaccinated, and the place he had been hospitalized final yr after struggling a stroke.

Mr. Shakespeare acquired his first dose shortly after Margaret Keenan, then 90, turned the primary particular person in Britain to be vaccinated and the primary in the world to obtain a clinically licensed, totally examined coronavirus vaccine.

Their vaccinations introduced a way of optimism to Britain: “If I can have it at 90 then you can have it, too!” Ms. Keenan stated at the time.

At least 127,000 individuals have died of the coronavirus in Britain, in accordance to a New York Times database, the world’s fifth-highest identified dying toll.

The different William Shakespeare, the playwright and poet who died in 1616, additionally has a connection to the coronavirus pandemic: The part of Westminster Abbey in London that features Poet’s Corner, the place he’s buried, was used as a vaccination heart this spring.

The household of the trendy Mr. Shakespeare stated he can be remembered for far more than sharing a reputation with one among England’s most well-known historic figures. He was an novice photographer and jazz aficionado, a parish councilor and an official at native colleges for greater than twenty years.

A neighborhood councilor and pal of Mr. Shakespeare’s, Jayne Innes, stated on Twitter, “Bill will be remembered for many things, including a taste for mischief.”

“Bill loved meeting people and helping them in any way possible,” Ms. Shakespeare stated. “Most of all he was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather.”