Sir Ian McKellen had nothing but praise for his country's National Health Serve after receiving his first dose of the new vaccine from Pfizer to battle the ongoing global pandemic. In a video posted to ITV, the 81-year-old knighted star of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and X-Men movies wore a rainbow scarf and gave an appropriately distanced elbow bump to the clinician who gave him the injection.
"It's a very special day," McKellen posted on Instagram. "Anyone who has lived as long as I have is alive because they have had previous vaccinations."
McKellen received his first dose of the vaccine on camera. A second dose is required in three weeks, and the actor and activist promised the nurses and doctors that when he returns the next time six days after his second injection he was "going to give them all a big hug," if it was allowed. He also had nothing but praise for the NHS.
"That's been one of the real bonus of all this, isn't it," he said. "To watch and see what works in this country and what doesn't work -- and it seems to me the NHS is right at the top of the list of the institutions that do work."
While technically older than the NHS, McKellen still remembered the impact that public health care had on his life, saying he "wouldn't be alive if it hadn't been for the NHS." He went on to note that "we're all equal under the vaccination."
McKellen gave a little pep talk for those concerned about the vaccine, or those who just harbor a fear of needles.
"From being a child, I've had injections and I've always thought 'aw good, here's health coming my way,'" he revealed. "It is invasive of course, and it looks like a weapon - a needle - but it isn't, it's a friend!"
He closed by encouraging others to follow his example.
"I would encourage everybody to do the sensible thing, not just for themselves but for everybody else because if you're virus-free that helps everybody else, doesn't it?" he said. Many notable figures are getting vaccine shots publicly in order to demystify the process.