It’s been a long 2020, but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. On Tuesday, the U.K. became the first nation to administer fully vetted and authorized COVID-19 vaccines to its citizens. Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, was the first person to receive the vaccine, while 81-year-old William Shakespeare was the second.
No, obviously we don’t mean that William Shakespeare, but the coincidental name is making headlines and delighting everyone on social media. Many were quick to respond to Tuesday’s news with their own hot takes, with Britain’s National Theatre even getting in on the joke.
Casting director: So what would you bring to the role of second patient? We want a sense of real drama and patriotism here.
Auditionee: I'm literally called William Shakespeare.
Casting director: Fair enough, the part's yours. https://t.co/phnYvq0SSh
— Is it the National Theatre? Oh yes it is (@NationalTheatre) December 8, 2020
According to the New York Times, the 81-year-old Shakespeare was “vaccinated at University Hospital Coventry, in central England, just 20 miles north of where his namesake, the slightly older and more well-known poet and playwright, was born.” The vaccine that Shakespeare and Keenan received was a joint development by Pfizer and BioNTech.
And how does one respond to being lucky enough to receive a coveted COVID vaccine? Shakespeare simply told the Times, “It could make a difference to our lives from now on, couldn’t it?” Spoken like a true playwright.
Meanwhile, the Twitter reactions to Shakespeare’s vaccination were predictably hilarious and mostly literature-related puns, including ones about “the taming of the flu.” See more funny reactions below.
Nurse: Which arm?
WS: As you like it
Nurse: was that painful?
WS: Much ado about nothing.
Nurse: you will have to have a second jab.
WS: Measure for measure?
Nurse: so what do you think of the govt handling of Covid?
WS: Comedy of Errors.
— Peter (@ProfPeterDolton) December 8, 2020
The Taming of the Flu
— Dave Ward (@DaveWardDrummer) December 8, 2020
the brontë sisters, 31, 33, and 35, have been vaccinated https://t.co/LxFgmCBltT
— Jill Gutowitz (@jillboard) December 8, 2020
Actually I heard the second person to get the vaccine was Christopher Marlowe but William Shakespeare took all the credit.
— Tiernan Douieb (@TiernanDouieb) December 8, 2020
If Margaret Keenan is patient 1A for the vaccine, would William Shakespeare be 2B, or not 2B … #BBCBreakfast
— VoiceOfTheMysterons (@Mysteron_Voice) December 8, 2020
Wait William Shakespeare is still alive?? All this time, I could’ve been talking shit about his books TO HIS FACE??? https://t.co/LrkxbBSXGH
— CHRIS KLEMENS (@ChrisKlemens) December 8, 2020
Do you think they chose a man with the name William Shakespeare for the first vacc, because it's an act?
They play with our minds.
— Socrates' Cat (@AeHcat) December 8, 2020
William Shakespeare becomes the 2nd person to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech #COVID19 vaccine (outside of a trial) in Coventry, England.
Not bad looking for 400+ years old. (Okay, he’s actually 81). pic.twitter.com/lZ5Ub3NYjc
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) December 8, 2020
First Covid vaccinations done in the U.K. The first man to be administered the vaccine was a Mr William Shakespeare. I kid you not.
All’s Well That Ends Well.
— Mr. Spock ? (Commentary) (@SpockResists) December 8, 2020