‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly Parton urges Americans to get COVID-19 shots

Efforts to encourage US citizens to take their COVID-19 vaccines received a boost from country music legend Dolly Parton, who updated her hit song “Jolene” to pledge her support in a social media video showing her getting inoculated.

Parton burst into a version of her hit, which she wrote and recorded in 1973, before receiving her jab at Vanderbilt University medical centre near her home in Nashville, Tennessee.

Before receiving the shot the 75 year-old star sang: “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, I’m begging of you, please don’t hesitate.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, because once you’re dead, then it’s a bit too late.”

But Parton had a serious message for the US public about the vaccine, which was the Moderna shot she helped fund with a $1m donation last year.

She said: “I’m old enough to get it and I’m smart enough to get it. I’m trying to be funny now, but I’m dead serious about the vaccine.

“I think we all want to get back to normal, whatever that is. And that would be a great shot in the arm, wouldn’t it, if we could do that?”

“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.”

Figures suggest that a sizable minority of people in the US are mistrustful of COVID-19 vaccines, with a January survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation showing that around three in 10 health care workers are unsure about getting the vaccine.

It’s thought that herd immunity against COVID could be reached by vaccinating around 80% of the adult population, leaving the virus with so few hosts that it peters out.

Latest figures show that nearly 52 million people in the US have received at least one vaccine shot, covering just over 20% of the adult population.

President Joe Biden has promised there will be enough vaccine for every adult in the country by the end of May.

Parton received her shot from Naji Abumrad, a surgeon friend of hers who treated her after she suffered minor injuries in a car accident in 2013.

Abumrad encouraged Parton to support the vaccine development by setting up the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund.

The funding kick-started research into the Moderna vaccine and funded the test that confirmed it produced a potentially protective immune response during the pandemic’s early stages.

Other celebrities have also backed the vaccine, including Michael Caine, David Attenborough, Tony Robinson and Ian McKellen.

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