Last April, Dolly Parton pledged $1 million to Covid-19 vaccine research, a donation that partly funded the Moderna mRNA vaccine. On Tuesday, the country-music singer and philanthropist received — as her Twitter account tweeted — “a dose of her own medicine,” sitting down at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center to receive her first shot of the vaccine she helped create.
Parton filmed her vaccination and posted it online, encouraging others to get vaccinated in her Dolly-syncratic way, even singing a snippet of her 1973 hit “Jolene,” retitled as “Vaccine.”
“I’m finally gonna get my vaccine,” Parton said. “I’m old enough to get it, and I’m smart enough to get it. I’m very happy that I’m going to get my Moderna shot today, and I wanted to tell everybody that you should get out there and do it too.”
While Parton joked about everything from the administering doctor’s clumsiness (“I hope you do better with the shot!”) to the blouse she wore especially for the occasion (with strategically placed holes for needle access), the Country Music Hall of Famer said she was “dead serious” about spreading the message to get vaccinated against Covid-19, a disease that has already killed more than 500,000 Americans.
“I just want to say to all you cowards out there, don’t be such a chicken squat — get out there and get your shot,” Parton said.
The Moderna shot is one of two FDA-approved mRNA shots (Pfizer-BioNTech is the other) currently being distributed across the United States. Last weekend, a single-dose shot developed by Johnson & Johnson was approved and will begin distribution this week. On Tuesday, President Biden announced that the U.S. was on track to have enough vaccines available to every American adult by the end of May.