Bill Shakespeare, First Man to Receive COVID Vaccine, Dies

81-year-old died of unrelated illness
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2021 4:35 PM CDT
Bill Shakespeare, First Man to Receive COVID Vaccine Dies
Bill Shakespeare, 81, receives the Pfizer vaccine at University Hospital in Coventry, England, on Dec. 8. Shakespeare has died after a stroke.   (Jacob King/Pool via AP)

Bill Shakespeare, who joyfully became the first man and second person in the world to receive the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine after its approval, has died of an unrelated illness. He was 81 and had suffered a stroke before his death Thursday, the BBC reports. Margaret Keenan, 91, had been given a Pfizer shot just before Shakespeare last December at University Hospital in Coventry, England. He described the vaccination experience as "wonderful." Joy Shakespeare said her husband appreciated the chance to receive the vaccine and took advantage of his global fame to encourage others to have the shots. "It was something he was hugely proud of—he loved seeing the media coverage and the positive difference he was able to make to the lives of so many," she said.

Bill Shakespeare had worked at Rolls-Royce and been a local government official for 30 years, per the Mirror, whose legacy includes tree plantings and the creation of wooded areas. Mourners include members of the Labor Party, in which he was active for decades. “Bill was a lifelong campaigner, so he was delighted to be able to help" with the vaccine effort, a friend and colleague said. "Bill will be remembered for many things," she posted online, "including a taste for mischief." He died at the same hospital where he was vaccinated. Keenan is still feeling and doing well, per TMZ. (More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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