William Shakespeare, first UK man to get COVID-19 vaccine, dead at 81

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A UK man named William Shakespeare — the first man in the country and one of the first in the world to receive an approved COVID-19 vaccine this past December — has passed away from an unrelated illness. He was 81.

He died Thursday at the same hospital in Coventry where he received the vaccine, according to BirminghamLive. The nature of his illness was not immediately clear.

Upon his death, tributes poured in for Shakespeare, who was remembered fondly as a “much-loved figure’ in the Coventry Labour Party. Jayne Innes, a Whoberley ward councilor for 30 years who worked closely with Shakespeare, said he was a “keen photographer, loved jazz and socialising, and also loved the natural world and gardens.”

“Bill was a life-long campaigner, so he was delighted to be able to help encourage everyone to have the vaccine in order to return to all the things we enjoy in life,” she added. “I’ve had my first. Having our jabs is the best tribute we can all pay Bill.”

The modern-day Shakespeare made headlines back on Dec. 8 when he received the jab at the University Hospital Coventry, a mere 20 miles from the famous playwright’s birthplace of Stratford-Upon-Avon.

“I need to say, the staff at this hospital are wonderful,” Shakespeare said after he received the Pfizer shot.

The Warwickshire native was an in-patient at the hospital’s frailty ward at the time he received his vaccine dose, per the BBC.

His vaccination made worldwide headlines — including on the front-page of the Post, where it was dubbed the “Taming of the Flu.”

Shakespeare leaves behind his wife Joy and two sons, Julian and William. He was also a grandfather.

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