VIDEO: The Taming of the Flu: In England, William Shakespeare gets Pfizer vaccine shot - GulfToday

VIDEO: The Taming of the Flu: In England, William Shakespeare gets Pfizer vaccine shot


William Shakespeare receives the Pfizer vaccine in Coventry, Britain. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

The iconic English dramatist William Shakespeare's thoughts in the classic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, must be going through his namesake's mind in Warwickshire.

But this 81-year-old Britisher was definitely not shaken by the instant fame that his name triggered. This 'Bard' was definitely not barred from inoculating himself against the dreaded coronavirus.

William Shakespeare from Warwickshire in England was one of the first people to receive the newly approved COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial on Tuesday.

The 81-year-old had the injection at University Hospital Coventry on Tuesday, 20 miles from Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of his namesake, England's greatest dramatist and poet.


Shakespeare's shot inspired Twitter users, who joked "The Taming of the Flu", "The Two Gentlemen of Corona". Some asked if Margaret Keenan was patient 1A, then was Shakespeare "Patient 2B or not 2B?".

The fanfare was good cheer to the nation, if but for a moment. Authorities warned that the vaccination campaign would take many months, meaning painful restrictions that have disrupted daily life and punished the economy are likely to continue until spring. The UK has seen over 61,000 deaths in the pandemic -- more than any other country in Europe -- and has recorded more than 1.7 million confirmed cases.

Spakespeare-1 A nurse administers a vaccine on William Shakespeare. AP

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent days in intensive care with Covid-19 earlier this year, called it "a tremendous shot in the arm for the entire nation".

But with most people not expected to get vaccinated until early 2021, he said the public still needed to be careful to stop the spread of the virus.


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"We can't afford to relax," he said on a visit to a central London hospital.

"This really feels like the beginning of the end,″ said Stephen Powis, medical director for the National Health Service in England. "It’s been a really dreadful year, 2020 -- all those things that we are so used to, meeting friends and family, going to the cinema, have been disrupted. We can get those back. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next month. But in the months to come.″

UK-Margaret-Keenan Margaret Keenan receives the Pfizer vaccine. AP

But it is important beyond these shores. Britain’s programme is likely to provide lessons for other countries as they prepare for the unprecedented task of vaccinating billions.

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