Amid swaths of vaccine skepticism in the United States, prominent politicians and celebrities have received their shots publicly to encourage others to sign up. Parton’s Instagram video came as President Biden said the country would have enough vaccine doses for every adult by the end of May, earlier than July, as previously announced, bringing the promise of a more normal summer.
In February the singer, who’s also beloved for her philanthropy, 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 the video.
To get hers, Parton returned to a place and a doctor that tie her to the Moderna vaccine.
Naji Abumrad, a Lebanese-born physician and professor of surgery, first met 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 Washington Post’s Timothy Bella reported. Last year, Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt in the doctor’s honor, helping to fund the early stages of coronavirus research.
“Her work made it possible to expedite the science behind the testing,” Abumrad told The 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: “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 was on display in Tuesday’s video.
Parton, wearing a dress with open shoulders, 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 joked, “Well it didn’t take this long to film ‘9 to 5,’” referring to her 1980 movie.
“You think you got it?” she said.
“I got it,” Abumrad replied.
“I did it,” Parton said. “I did it.”