Sir Ian McKellan Feels 'Euphoric' After Getting the Coronavirus Vaccine in England
"I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone," the Oscar nominee said after receiving the first dose of the vaccine
McKellen, 81, was given the first of two doses at London's Queen Mary's University Hospital on Wednesday, the Evening Standard reported.
"It's a very special day, I feel euphoric," the Oscar nominee said, per the British news outlet.
"Anyone who has lived as long as I have is alive because they have had previous vaccinations," the Lord of the Rings star said, "the take up amongst the older generation will be 100 percent — it ought to be — because you're having it not just for yourself but for people who you are close to — you're doing your bit for society."
The United Kingdom became the first Western country to roll out the vaccine earlier this month.
McKellen said that he feels "very lucky to have had the vaccine," and encouraged others to get it as well.
"Of course, it's painless," the actor said of the shot. "It's convenient, and getting in touch and meeting NHS staff and saying thank you to them for how hard they've been working is a bonus, I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone."
On Monday, the first Americans were given Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at New York's Long Island Jewish Medical Center — the first person to receive the shot in the U.S. was Sarah Lindsay, an ICU nurse at the hospital, which was one of the hardest hit by the virus earlier this year.
People at the highest risk, including frontline health care workers and residents and staff of long-term nursing facilities, will be in the first wave of people to receive vaccine doses, followed by essential workers like emergency responders, grocery workers, public transit workers, teachers, correction officers and police officers.
Several prominent figures in the U.S. — namely former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — have said they will receive the vaccine in public to prove that it is safe.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.