Sir Ian McKellen, the 81-year-old openly gay actor and star of films like The Lord Of The Rings and X-Men, was snapped giving a thumbs up after he received the first of two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Coronavirus on Wednesday. The UK reported that over 130,000 people had been vaccinated in the first week since the vaccination program was launched on December 8, 2020.
The actor, who qualified to be among the first round of vaccinations in the United Kingdom on account of his age, said he felt “happy, and relieved and optimistic.” The actor will now have to come back in 21 days to get the second jab.
“It’s a very special day, I feel euphoric. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone. I feel very lucky to have had the vaccine,” Sir Ian said.
“I really hope that, as more people get vaccinated, we will move further along the path back to a more normal way of life.”
According to the NHS, which tweeted the photo of Sir Ian McKellen, thousands of people who are most at risk of contracting coronavirus are being offered the vaccine in the first round. The first list includes people aged 80 and over, people who live and work in care homes and at-risk health care workers.
'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
The actor promised hugs to the NHS staff, after the second dose of the vaccine.
“I am feeling happy, and relieved and optimistic and everything that I haven’t really been feeling for a long time now,” the actor told the waiting media.
“I am looking forward to the day when I am absolutely free and will be allowed to absolutely hug people again… the first person I hug is Philip the doctor here and some of his staff – that would be very appropriate.”
The British actor made a strong pitch for everyone to get vaccinated and offered reassurance about the safety of the vaccine.
“I would encourage everybody to do the sensible thing not just for themselves but for everybody else because if you are virus-free then that helps everybody else, doesn’t it?
The UK is facing a surge in Coronavirus infections. On Wednesday, it recorded 25,161 new cases of COVID-19 and 612 deaths, with the total number of infections at 1,913,277 and deaths at 65,520.
United Kingdom Daily Coronavirus (COVID-19) Report · Wednesday 16th December.
25,161 new cases (people positive) reported, giving a total of 1,913,277.
612 new deaths reported, giving a total of 65,520. pic.twitter.com/T1tmVFjbn1
— UK COVID-19 (@UKCovid19Stats) December 16, 2020
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing calls to roll back the planned easing of restrictions from December 23-27, for Christmas.