William Shakespeare, British man who was first in the world to get Pfizer vaccine, dies aged 81 of unrelated illness

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<p>William Shakespeare, 81, receives the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine at University Hospital, Coventry</p> (PA)

William Shakespeare, 81, receives the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine at University Hospital, Coventry


William Shakespeare, the first man in the world to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19, has died of an unrelated illness, friends revealed.

The 81-year-old became an international sensation and brought Matt Hancock to tears and images of him receiving the Pfizer vaccine adorned front pages the world over.

Mr Shakespeare, known as Bill, received his first Covid vaccine in December at University Hospital, Coventry shortly after 91-year-old Margaret Keenan, becoming the second person in the UK to receive a coronavirus vaccine outside a clinical trial.

He was a “much-loved figure” in the Coventry Labour party according to Jayne Innes, Whoberley ward councillor.

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Mr Shakespeare had been a parish councillor for 30 years, of which he was chairman of the parish council for 20 years.

“He was such a lovely man, one who had a real commitment to making his local area better,” said Jayne.

“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. I’ve had my first. Having our jabs is the best tribute we can all pay Bill.

“He was a keen photographer, loved jazz and socialising, and also loved the natural world and gardens. Bill will be remembered for many things including a taste for mischief.

“He was a much respected figure in the Coventry Labour Party and he will be sorely missed.”

He leaves behind his wife Joy, two sons, one also called William but known as Will, as well as Julian. He was also a proud grandfather.

His son Will posted a Coventry Live article announcing his death to Facebook saying: “ A wonderful tribute to Pops aka Bill Shakespeare x”

Bill’s funeral details have yet to be arranged.

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