On Tuesday, a 90-year-old grandmother Margaret Keenan, made history as she became the first person to receive the COVID vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech outside trial conditions. But it was the second person to get it also made headlines for having an immensely popular name – William Shakespeare. The 81-year-old hails from the same county where the famous English poet was born – Warwickshire.

The second person to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech early on Tuesday was an 81-year-old man named William Shakespeare. He too received the vaccine at the University Hospital in Coventry in the Midlands, which is not far from the birthplace of Shakespeare – Stratford-upon-Avon.


His name sparked much ado and creativity on the social media, evidence that there is lots in a name. The image of Shakespeare receiving the vaccine was widely shared, with remarks such as: ‘The Taming of Flu’ and ‘The Two Gentlemen of Corona’.

Britain last week became the first country to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, raising hopes of a breakthrough in the pandemic, which has killed more than 1.5 million worldwide.

Britain has been one of the worst-affected countries in the world, with more than 61,000 deaths in the outbreak from 1.6 million cases.

Health secretary Matt Hancock also had a laugh on live television that the second person to receive the vaccine was named William Shakespeare, insisting the vaccine roll-out “makes you so proud to be British”.

The 81-year-old said it was ‘groundbreaking’ for him to receive a shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.


The United Kingdom is the first country in the world to begin using the COVID vaccine by Pfizer after regulators approved its use last week.


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