What's in a name?
Millions of people around the world eagerly await a Covid-19 vaccine as the door closes on our hellish year battling the pandemic, but one early adopter has hit the headlines because of his very famous namesake.
The UK has become the first country to roll out a nationwide vaccine schedule and the first lucky patients received their jabs overnight NZ time.
The first to receive a shot, a 90-year-old named Margaret Keenan, received the first flush of publicity but it was lucky number two that really captured public imagination.
Enter, stage left, William Shakespeare.
The 81-year-old, from The Bard's home county of Warwickshire, sparked a flurry of theatrical social media activity based on his famous name after he stepped up to be vaccinated.
Twitter jokes included "The Taming of the Flu" and "The Two Gentlemen of Corona", with one wag suggesting that the British Covid response had so far been a "Comedy of Errors".
One joked: "If Margaret Keenan is patient 1A for the vaccine, would William Shakespeare be 2B, or not 2B?".
The UK is the first Western country to deliver a broadly tested and independently reviewed vaccine to the general public. The Covid-19 shot was developed by US drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech. US and European Union regulators may approve it in the coming days or weeks.
"All done?" Margaret Keenan asked nurse May Parsons. "All done," came the reply, as hospital staff broke into applause and also clapped for her as she was wheeled down a corridor.
"I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19," said Keenan, who wore a surgical mask and a blue "Merry Christmas" T-shirt with a cartoon penguin in a Santa hat. "It's the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year."
The fanfare was good cheer to the nation, if but for a moment. Authorities warned that the vaccination campaign would take many months, meaning painful restrictions that have disrupted daily life and punished the economy are likely to continue until spring. The UK has seen over 61,000 deaths in the pandemic — more than any other country in Europe — and has recorded more than 1.7 million confirmed cases.
All's well that ends well.
- Additional reporting, AP