The celebrated British actor, who has starred in “The Lord of the Rings” films and the “X-Men” franchise, received the injection at the Arts Research Center, Queen Mary University of London Hospital, in east London.
“I feel very lucky to have had the vaccine. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone,” he said in a tweet Thursday.
NHS England said in a press release that McKellen, who is 81, formed one of the first “eligible groups” for the vaccine, which is being rolled out to people over the age 80, healthcare workers and care home residents.
The vaccination program is now in its second week, NHS England added, describing it as the “biggest breakthrough since the pandemic began, potentially saving tens of thousands of lives.”
Earlier this month, the United Kingdom became the first Western nation to authorize a Covid-19 vaccine after regulators granted emergency authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Speaking after receiving the jab, McKellen is quoted in the press release as saying: “I feel honored to have received the Covid-19 vaccine and I would urge anyone who is offered the vaccine to take up the offer — 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.”
The vaccine comes in two doses, spaced at least 21 days apart. It works by “teaching the immune system how to defend itself against attack,” NHS England said.
Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England medical director for primary care, said: “The NHS has made an excellent start to rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine across the country, with dozens of hospitals and now hundreds of local vaccination services offering the vaccine to those who need it most.”