Sir Ian McKellen has had no shortage of roles that made cinematic history, but now the celebrated actor is making history in his personal life. The British film and stage star has just become one of the first celebrities to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and said the process made him feel ‘euphoric.’ That’s not typically a word we use to describe how we feel after leaving the doctor’s office, but when a vaccine for a global pandemic is involved, yes, euphoric is the perfect word.
The 81-year-old actor received his first dose of the vaccination on Wednesday at Queen Mary’s University Hospital in London. McKellen told the Evening Standard that receiving his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, which has been approved for use in Canada as well, marked a ‘very special day.’ “Anyone who has lived as long as I have is alive because they have had previous vaccinations. The take up amongst the older generation will be 100 per cent – it ought to be – because you’re having it not just for yourself but for people who you are close to – you’re doing your bit for society,” said McKellen.
“Of course, it’s painless,” he continued. “It’s convenient, and getting in touch and meeting NHS staff and saying thank you to them for how hard they’ve been working is a bonus, I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone.”
McKellen, who is best known for his roles in X-Men, The Lord of the Rings and Gods and Monsters, shared the news about his vaccination on Twitter, writing “I feel very lucky to have had the vaccine. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone.”
I feel very lucky to have had the vaccine. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone. https://t.co/gBLRR0OeJc— Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) December 17, 2020
McKellen is not the only famous name in the UK to receive one of the first doses of the vaccine. The Great British Bake Off’s Prue Leith (80), musician Marty Wilde (81) and TV presenter Lionel Blair (92) were also among the first round of recipients.
On December 8, the UK became the first Western country to begin administering the vaccine for COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine, which was developed in Germany and must be administered in two shots that are given 21 days apart, was first given to older residents in care homes and their caregivers. The UK has now entered their second phase of the rollout and begun providing the vaccine for front-line healthcare, and social care workers, and residents 80 years of age or older, a category that McKellen fits in.
Buckingham Palace has yet to confirm whether Queen Elizabeth, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, will receive the vaccine. Former US presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush have already pledged to receive the vaccination on camera to help boost confidence in the vaccine, much in the same vein as McKellen.
The first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Canada this week. Almost 300 healthcare workers were among the first Canadians to receive the vaccine, which poses a massive logistical undertaking. Unlike the flu vaccine, which arrives at hospitals, clinics and pharmacies in a vial, requires only a single dosage to administer and can be stored at room temperature, the Pfizer vaccine must be kept at subzero temperatures and used within six hours of thawing. The vaccine also requires two dosages given three weeks apart, which makes for an added level of difficulty in scheduling the shots. Thankfully, many healthcare workers have voluntarily signed up to help administer the vaccine in order to speed up the process and ensure that Canadians who want to receive the lifesaving shots will be able to do so as quickly as logistically possible.
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