RICHARD ORD: Vaccine hero wanted

The first patient to receive the coronavirus vaccination is a huge step forward for mankind … but probably a lost mark for future GCSE students.

By Richard Ord
Wednesday, 9th December 2020, 12:00 am
Margaret Keenan (remember the name), aged 90, is the first patient in the United Kingdom to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine.
Margaret Keenan (remember the name), aged 90, is the first patient in the United Kingdom to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine.

Even as I write this column, the name of the patient escapes me. Was it Maureen or Muriel? I’ll have to look it up.

But I can tell you who the second person to receive the vaccination was. His name?… William Shakespeare! You aren’t going to forget that are you? Thing is, they’re unlikely to ask you that in an exam.

To help those taking GCSE History in years to come, shuffling the old man who shares the same name as Britain’s greatest ever playwright ahead of, erm, Nora (?), would have ensured an extra mark.

Which is why I was a little disappointed the NHS hasn’t followed up on its idea to get celebrities to endorse the vaccination. There was talk of pushing trusted celebs to the front of the queue to encourage people to come forward. Problem is, today’s trusted celeb could be tomorrow’s most-hated! We’ve got form in this area, particularly in the Seventies.

Who better to pin you down in the back seat of a Ford Cortina than … Jimmy Savile! He was the public face of the nation’s ‘Clunk Click Every Trip’ campaign to wear seatbelts in the 1970s.

And to promote water safety in the Seventies they got a celebrity to surround himself with half naked young boys and girls in a swimming pool. That celebrity? Rolf Harris! Even David Prowse as the Green Cross Code Man was questionable. Not, I hasten to add, because of any sex offences. But while the authorities thought Prowse was the perfect trusted hero, Hollywood saw him and thought “there goes the most evil being in the galaxy” and cast him as Star Wars villain Darth Vader. I think Hollywood was right. Darth Vader became a movie legend. The Green Cross Code Man is nowhere - and I’ve watched all the superhero movies. If the Green Cross Code Man turns up in the latest Avengers Assemble or Justice League franchise I’ll stand corrected, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely.

Which is a pity. Even superheroes need to take care crossing the road.

Perhaps a Vaccine Man (or Woman) is the way forward. This superhero could front a campaign for the Covid-19 jab. The possibilities are endless. A socially-distanced masked avenger wielding a giant vaccination needle. But which celeb would you get to don the cape?

I’d get that woman who got the first jab, if I could remember her name...