So Mr. Shakespeare’s vaccination brought a bit of heartwarming news for people in Britain, and for his family. Within a few hours on Tuesday, he and Ms. Keenan had become the face of the country’s resilience against a virus that has killed more people in Britain than anywhere else in Europe.
“He is fed up being in the hospital,” Ms. Shakespeare said of her uncle, “but today I just want to say that I’m proud that he’s leading the way.”
She said it was “highly likely” that her uncle was related to “the” William Shakespeare, who died in 1616; she has traced his lineage back to the early 1700s, she said, but had more research still to do.
Britain’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, appeared to shed some tears on ITV as he heard the name of the first man in the country to receive the vaccine, which surely made Mr. Shakespeare raise an eyebrow, his niece said. “He’s left-leaning, so I’m not entirely sure how he feels about it,” Ms. Shakespeare added about the reaction from Mr. Hancock, a conservative.
May Parsons, the nurse who vaccinated Mr. Shakespeare and Ms. Keenan, said the injections were a first step in giving more people a sense of normality. “This is really important for me, knowing that they’re going to be safe, that they’re going to be protected,” Ms. Parsons told Sky News.
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Shakespeare’s name has brought him little moments of fame before, like the time in the 1960s when he was pulled over for speeding in Stratford-upon-Avon and the police officer did not believe it was his real name, Ms. Shakespeare said. “But this one goes beyond what he’s seen in the past,” she said.
It is also likely that another William Shakespeare will be vaccinated next year: Mr. Shakespeare’s 41-year-old son is also called William.