In what can only be described as a comedy of errors, an Argentinian TV news channel delivered a stunning, if slightly flawed, scoop on Thursday night when it reported that William Shakespeare, “one of the most important writers in the English language” had died five months after receiving the Covid vaccine.
The gaffe of, well, Shakespearean proportions happened after Noelia Novillo, a newsreader on Canal 26, mixed up the Bard with William “Bill” Shakespeare, an 81-year-old Warwickshire man who became the second person in the world to get the Pfizer vaccine.
William Shakespeare died in 1616, while his namesake – an inpatient in the frailty ward at University hospital, Coventry, at the time of his first vaccination – died this week from a stroke unrelated to the jab.
Sadly, the distinction was lost on Novillo as she informed viewers of the playwright’s death during the 8-10pm slot on Thursday.
“We’ve got news that has stunned all of us given the greatness of this man,” she said. “We’re talking about William Shakespeare and his death. We’ll let you know how and why it happened.”
Over footage of Bill Shakespeare chatting as he received the vaccine, the newsreader added: “As we all know, he’s one of the most important writers in the English language – for me the master. Here he is. He was the first man to get the coronavirus vaccine. He’s died in England at the age of 81.”
With the inevitability of a tragic hero succumbing to his fatal flaw, the gaffe soon went viral.
“There were only a few years between them,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Let us not weep for William Shakespeare,” urged another. “He lived his life and enjoyed people’s affection for centuries.”
Another added: “Such a fuss over William Shakespeare’s death, but they didn’t mention that he was in such a bad way that he hadn’t produced a hit in centuries. Over-rated.”