Football icon Pele has celebrated after receiving his first Covid-19 vaccine dose, describing an “unforgettable day” while calling for global co-operation to end the spread of the potentially deadly virus that has battered Brazil.
The 80-year-old superstar joined the four percent of his homeland’s population that has been vaccinated on Tuesday, sharing the news on social media by posting a photo of himself receiving the shot in his arm.
The three-time World Cup champion, who has been in isolation for a year since the global pandemic paralyzed the world last March, didn’t reveal which vaccine he took.
“Today is an unforgettable day – I received the vaccine!” Pele told his millions of fans.
“The pandemic is not over yet. We must keep discipline to preserve lives until many people have taken the vaccine.
“Please continue to wash your hands and stay home if possible. When you go out, please don’t forget your mask and maintain social distance. This will pass if we can think of others and help each other.”
Brazil has the world’s second-highest Covid-19 death toll after the US, with the disease claiming the lives of almost 260,000 people across the country.
In 2000, Pele and late Argentinian superstar Diego Maradona were named joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award.
Pele raised a virtual thumb to Santos, the club where he spent most of his sensational career, as the Brazilian giants left a message of relief at the news.
“What a special moment,” the official club account commented. “The nation of Santos won the day with this image.”