First man in world to get approved Covid jab is dead: Brit William Shakespeare has died at 81 – Daily Mail

William Shakespeare, the first man in the world to have an approved Covid jab, has died in hospital aged 81 after a long battle with an unrelated illness.

Bill, as he was known, made global headlines on so-called V-Day on December 8 when he received the Pfizer/BioNTech jab at the University Hospital Coventry.

The former Rolls Royce employee and parish councillor passed away last Thursday after a period of illness at the same hospital where he famously received his vaccine. He leaves behind his wife Joy, their two adult sons and grandchildren.

At the time, much was played on the fact that he was called William Shakespeare and was from Warwickshire, but the pensioner was a fiercely proud Coventrian according to his friends. 

When he received the Pfizer jab last year he had been an in-patient at the hospital’s frailty ward. He said after getting the historic drug that it was ‘wonderful’.

A picture of Mr Shakespeare receiving the shot while wearing a pair of Christmas slippers and his hospital gown made front pages around the world. 

Mr Shakespeare was the second person to get an approved vaccine after Margaret Keenan, 91, got hers at the same hospital moments earlier. Both received the American-made Pfizer vaccine, which became the first jab candidate to seal approval for mass use by regulators in the UK in December. 

Coventry councillor Jayne Innes, who was a friend of Mr Shakespeare, said in Facebook post that the ‘best tribute to Bill is to have the jab’. She added that he would be remembered for many things, ‘including a taste for mischief’.

William Shakespeare, the first man in the world to have an approved Covid jab, has died in hospital after a long illness

William Shakespeare, the first man in the world to have an approved Covid jab, has died in hospital after a long illness

William Shakespeare, the first man in the world to have an approved Covid jab, has died in hospital after a long illness 

Mr Shakespeare was pictured receiving the shot in his left arm and wearing a pair of Christmas slippers with his hospital gown

Mr Shakespeare was pictured receiving the shot in his left arm and wearing a pair of Christmas slippers with his hospital gown

Mr Shakespeare was pictured receiving the shot in his left arm and wearing a pair of Christmas slippers with his hospital gown

Mr Shakespeare was the second person to get an approved vaccine after Margaret Keenan, 91, got hers at the same hospital moments earlier

Mr Shakespeare was the second person to get an approved vaccine after Margaret Keenan, 91, got hers at the same hospital moments earlier

Mr Shakespeare was the second person to get an approved vaccine after Margaret Keenan, 91, got hers at the same hospital moments earlier

The poignant image of him dressed in festive slippers with his hospital gown became a symbol of home amid the dark days of lockdown. 

The human trials of mRNA vaccines – involving tens of thousands of people worldwide – had been going on since early 2020 to show whether they are safe and effective before the public received jab.

William Shakespeare’s family are ‘86% sure’ he is related to the Bard 

The William Shakespeare who received a coronavirus vaccine today is believed to be related to the Bard, his family claimed today.

His niece Emily Shakespeare, a PhD candidate at Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland, said relatives think the connection is very likely.

She tweeted today: ‘Around 86 per cent sure we are. Bill’s ancestors closely follow Coventry’s past with the industry there. And I have glimpsed a connection with the ‘Kerseley branch’ of the Bard’s descendants.’

Ms Shakespeare added that her uncle was ‘English through and through’, and there was no link to Ireland.

He is from near Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, which was also the Bard’s home town.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust confirmed to MailOnline there are no direct descendants of William Shakespeare today, although there are descendants of his sister Joan who married a William Hart.

William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway and they had three children, Susanna, Judith and Hamnet. However all four of the couple’s grandchildren died without heirs, so there are no direct descendants today.

Susanna and John Hall’s only daughter, Elizabeth, married twice but both marriages remained childless. Judith and her husband Thomas Quiney’s three sons all died at an early age. Hamnet died aged 11.

The Trust added that it had no immediate knowledge of any ‘Kerseley branch’, but will carry out further research to establish any information about this.

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Mr Shakespeare had been believed to be related to the Bard, his family claimed in the days after the jab. 

His niece Emily Shakespeare, a PhD candidate at Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland, said relatives thought the connection was very likely. 

She tweeted at the time: ‘Around 86 per cent sure we are. Bill’s ancestors closely follow Coventry’s past with the industry there. And I have glimpsed a connection with the ‘Kerseley branch’ of the Bard’s descendants.’

Ms Shakespeare added that her uncle was ‘English through and through’, and there was no link to Ireland.

His sad death was being mourned not only by his family but the many people he came into contact with today as news of his passing was revealed. 

He was a ‘much-loved figure’ in the Coventry Labour party according to Jayne Innes, Whoberley ward councillor, and one who will be fondly remembered. 

The Allesley resident 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.

‘During lockdown local families will have enjoyed walking amongst the trees planted by Bill and his colleagues in Allesley back in the 1980s.  

‘He was also very involved with the creation of the Coundon Wood in 2005 and in fundraising for the purchase of Elkin Wood, now managed by the Woodland Trust in 1997.

‘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.’

Angela Hopkins, Coventry Labour Party secretary, added: ‘Bill has been an active member for many, many years, particularly in Bablake ward where he has walked hundreds of thousands of steps every year campaigning for the party and was an Allesley Parish Councillor.

‘I know that he will be greatly missed not only by members in Bablake, but by colleagues across the constituency and beyond.’

He used to work at Rolls Royce and was also a school governor at Allesley Primary School, as well as at Coundon Court School.

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. Funeral details have yet to be arranged. 

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First man in world to get approved Covid jab is dead: Brit William Shakespeare has died at 81 – Daily Mail

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