First UK Man to Get COVID-19 Vaccine, William Shakespeare, Dead at 81 William "Bill" Shakespeare, 81, receiving his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine to patient at University Hospital in Coventry, central England, on Dec. 8, 2020. (Jacob King/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
By Jim Thomas | Tuesday, 25 May 2021 06:35 PM
A U.K. 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, reported the New York Post.
He died Thursday at the same hospital in Coventry where he received the COVID vaccine, according to BirminghamLive.
Coventry is a city located on the River Sherbourne in the West Midlands, England.
After 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 councillor for 30 years who worked closely with Shakespeare, said he was a “keen photographer, loved jazz and socializing, 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 University Hospital Coventry, a mere 20 miles from the famous playwright’s birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Warwickshire native was an in-patient at the hospital’s frailty ward at the time he received his vaccine dose and his vaccination made worldwide headlines — including on the front page of The Post, where it was labeled the “Taming of the Flu.”
Shakespeare, a grandfather, leaves behind his wife, Joy, and two sons, Julian and William.