Dolly Parton — singer, actor, icon, and pharmaceutical benefactor — received on Tuesday her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine she helped to fund.
“I’m so excited. I’ve been waiting a while,” the singer told fans in a video posted to Twitter from Nashville’s Vanderbilt University. “I’m old enough to get it, and I’m smart enough to get it.”
Last year, Parton’s fund donated $1 million for research to develop the vaccine.
“When I donated the money to the COVID fund, I just wanted it to do good and evidently it is,” she said when Moderna’s first highly successful results were revealed in November.
But despite her donation, Parton was adamant that she had to wait in line until it was her time to receive a dose.
“I don’t want it to look like I’m jumping the line just because I donated money,” she said last month.
Well, her time finally came on Tuesday, and she was in a singing mood as she rewrote her classic song “Jolene” in a bid to encourage fans to follow suit.
“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaciiiiiiine, I’m begging of you please don’t hesitate,” she sang. “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaciiiiiiine, because once you’re dead, then that’s a bit too late.”
Parton received her dose from Naji Abumrad, a professor of surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who took a couple of minutes to administer it.
“It didn’t take this long to film 9 to 5,” Parton joked.
More than 78 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the US so far.
President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that there would be enough supplies of the shots by the end of May — two months earlier than previously expected — because pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. has agreed to help produce supplies of competitor Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine.
Parton said having enough people vaccinated would eventually help life return to normal.
“That would be a great shot in the arm, wouldn’t it?” she joked.
As for anyone hesitating, Parton had a simple message: “Don’t be such a chicken squat.”