The melody was familiar but the words were written for the moment: “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine vaccine. I’m begging of you please don’t hesitate.”
Dolly Parton, country music legend and beloved philanthropist, was in Tennessee on Tuesday to get the Moderna vaccine that she helped fund.
Amid swaths of vaccine skepticism in the United States, prominent politicians and celebrities have received their shot publicly to encourage others to sign up. The video came as President Joe Biden said the country would have enough vaccine doses for every adult by the end of May, up from July as previously announced, bringing with it the promise of a more normal summer.
In February the singer told USA Today that she wouldn’t “jump the line” to get vaccinated.
On Tuesday, it was Parton’s turn, and she had a message for others.
“I just want to say to all of you cowards out there, don’t be such a chicken squat. Get out there and get your shot,” the 75-year-old said in a video on Instagram.
To get hers, Parton returned to a place and doctor that tie her to the Moderna vaccine that she contributed funds to develop.
Naji Abumrad, a physician and professor of surgery, first meet Parton after the singer got into a minor car accident in 2013 and visited Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The chance meeting led to a friendship between “two poor, mountain kids trying to get by, though they were raised more than 6,000 miles apart,” The Post’s Tim Bella reported. Last year, Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt in the doctor’s honor, which helped fund the early stages of coronavirus research.
“Her work made it possible to expedite the science behind the testing,” Abumrad told The Washington Post at the time. “Without a doubt in my mind, her funding made the research toward the vaccine go 10 times faster than it would be without it.”
Parton previously told USA Today that, “I think I’m getting more credit than I deserve. But I was just so happy to be a small part, and to plant a seed that would grow into something bigger.”
The bond between the two were on display in Tuesday’s video.
Parton, wearing a dress with open sleeves, put on a mask as Abumrad entered.
“You and I have been friends forever and I thought it was only appropriate that you should be the one to give me my shot today,” Parton said, joking that she hoped he had practiced.
As Abumrad prepared to give her the shot, Parton, who put on a mask, joked that “well it didn’t take this long to film ‘9 to 5,'” referring to her 1980 movie.
“You think you got it?” she asked.
“I got it,” Abumrad replied.
“I did it,” Parton said. “I did it.”