Vaccine sceptic, 34, who died of COVID 'wished he could turn back time'

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Vaccine sceptic Matthew Keenan has died with COVID-19 (reach)
Vaccine sceptic Matthew Keenan has died with COVID-19. (reach)

A self-confessed vaccine sceptic died from coronavirus after admitting he 'wished he could turn back time'.

Football coach Matthew Keenan, 34, became seriously ill earlier this month after catching COVID and was left 'fighting for his life' in a Bradford hospital.

His desperate plight was shared by a senior Bradford Royal Infirmary medic, who tweeted a photo of Keenan receiving oxygen on his hospital bed.

The medic had described Matthew as a "self-confessed vaccine sceptic until he caught COVID", as well as a football coach and a dad.

Keenan agreed for his doctor to share his story after regretting turning down the life-saving vaccine.

Leanne Cheyne, respiratory consultant at Bradford Royal Infirmary, shared the picture on Twitter.

Matthew Keenan, left, with friend Billy Brown, right. (SWNS)
Matthew Keenan, left, with friend Billy Brown, right. (SWNS)
Festival goer Miles Moss receives his 2nd Pfizer vaccine dose at a Covid-19 vaccination bus at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk. Picture date: Sunday July 25, 2021. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
More than 46 million Britons are fully vaccinated, but many are still refusing the immunisation (PA Images via Getty Images)

She wrote: "Matthew has agreed for me to share his story.

"34, footie coach and dad. Self-confessed vaccine sceptic until he caught COVID, if he could turn back time he would.

"Our sickest patients are unvaccinated and under 40.

"Matthew is fighting for his life...save yours. #GetVaccinated #GrabAJab."

Dozens of tributes have been paid to the football-loving 34-year-old, who was from Bierley, Bradford.

A spokesman for the Bradford Sunday Alliance Football League said: "Wow a shock this morning, waking up to the devastating news that Matthew Keenan has passed away. Such a top lad gone too soon.

"Respected by everyone. My heart goes out to all his family at this sad time RIP big man and sleep tight."

Watch: UK vaccine in numbers

Bradford's Toller Football Club said: "Everyone at the club are saddened to hear the death of Bradford legend Matthew Keenan.

"Tragic news to wake up to. The guy was a gem. Always smiling and put his heart and soul into Station Fc on a Sunday. Devastated for his partner and children. Life is way too short.

"Don’t hold any grudges it’s not expensive to be kind. Hold onto your family and loved ones whilst you can. RIP lad."

Matthew Keenan, left, with friend Billy Brown, right. (SWNS)
Matthew Keenan, left, with friend Billy Brown, right. (SWNS)
Medic Leanne Cheyne posted a picture of Matthew Keenan hooked up to oxygen as the former vaccine sceptic admitted he wished he could 'turn back time' and receive the jab (Twitter/Leanne Cheyne)
Medic Leanne Cheyne posted a picture of Matthew Keenan hooked up to oxygen as the former vaccine sceptic admitted he wished he could 'turn back time' and receive the jab (Twitter/Leanne Cheyne)

And Bradford rap outfit Bad Boy Chiller Crew posted a photo of Matthew on Facebook with the message: "Can't believe we're writing this but Bradford has lost an absolute legend."

A spokesman for The Speak in Club, a mental health support group, said: "Absolutely gutted to hear of the passing of my mate Matthew Keenan.

"Genuinely one of the nicest people you will ever meet and the life and soul of everything. 

"He lit up everywhere he stepped. Fly high, my brother. You Will Never Walk Alone."

Read More: 'Humiliating': Scotland misses key vaccination target by tens of thousands

More than 46 million Britons have had a first vaccine dose - nearly 90% of the adult population - and more than 36 million - about 70% of adults - have received both doses.

The number of first doses administered each day is now averaging at just under 50,000 - far below a peak of some 500,000 in mid-March. It rose in recent weeks as the vaccine rollout reached younger age groups, but has since fallen.

An average of more than 178,000 second doses are now being given a day, with the delivery of second doses accelerated in response to the emergence of the Delta variant, first identified in India.

However, many vaccine sceptics are still refusing the jab, and thousands congregated in Trafalgar Square last weekend to rally against government measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus infections.

Watch: Do coronavirus vaccines affect fertility?

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