Sir Ian McKellen, the British actor, was one of the first people to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. On Wednesday, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) administered a dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to him at the Queen Mary University Hospital in London.
The 81-year-old actor, who is best known for The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and X-Men, said that he was “very lucky” to have received the vaccine and that he has “no hesitation in recommending it to anyone”.
‘I really hope that, as more people get vaccinated, we will move further along the path back to a more normal way of life.’
⁰Sir @IanMcKellen joins the thousands of people who have now safely received the first dose of the #CovidVaccine. https://t.co/1e3nCAUFcB pic.twitter.com/FFW6jrKqEg
— NHS England and NHS Improvement (@NHSEngland) December 16, 2020
According to the National Health Service website, after getting the first dose of the vaccine, McKellen urged “anyone who is offered the vaccine to take up the offer”. He also said, “I feel honoured to have received the COVID-19 vaccine – it took a few minutes, and then it was done.”
“I really hope that, as more people get vaccinated, we will move further along the path back to a more normal way of life, particularly for the arts which have suffered so much this year. We all have a part to play in the fight against Coronavirus and doing our bit and getting vaccinated will save lives,” he said.
Earlier this month, the NHS had started to roll out its Covid-19 vaccine drive for the first lot of what it had demarcated as “eligible groups”, which included people over 80, NHS staff members, and care home staff. Other eligible celebrities include TV personality and restaurateur Prue Leith and TV producer Michael Whitehall.
On Tuesday, Leith said on social media, “Who wouldn’t want immunity from #Covid19 with a painless jab?? #vaccine.”
On the same day, UK Minister Nadhim Zahawi who is in charge of the vaccination program, announced that within seven days of rolling out the vaccine, 1,08,000 in England, 7,897 in Wales, 4,000 in Northern Ireland, and 18,000 in Scotland had taken the vaccine. In total, 1,37,897 in the UK have received the vaccine.
The vaccine has been developed by the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer in collaboration with German biotechnology company BioNTech. On December 11, the US Food and Drug Administration issued the first emergency use authorisation (EUA) of the vaccine for the prevention of Covid-19. The vaccine could be used on individuals who are 16 years of age and older and are infected with the virus, said the FDA. It also said that common side effects reported after receiving the vaccine were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever that lasted for several days.
In the first week of December, a The Guardian report said that the UK had become the first Western county to license the vaccine, authorised for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).
In India, the vaccine is likely to take time. According to a report by Live Mint, the Drugs Controller General of India will ask Pfizer to conduct more trials for the Indian population, as the company does not have sufficient data on trial participants of Indian ethnicity. As of December 18, 2020, the total number of cases and total deaths in India stands at 99,79,447 and 1,44,829 respectively.
In the UK meanwhile, 66,052 deaths and 19,48,660 cases have been recorded till date.