Why Dolly Parton Still Hasn't Gotten COVID-19 Vaccine, Despite Helping Fund It

Why Dolly Parton Still Hasn't Gotten COVID-19 Vaccine, Despite Helping Fund It

02/03/2021

The legendary entertainer donated $1 million to the research that would ultimately culminate in the Moderna vaccine.

At 75 years old, Dolly Parton has reached the age that qualifies her to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. But the singer has not received hers yet and, in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday, she’s not planning on getting it — yet.

“I’m at the age where I could have gotten mine legally last week,” said Parton “I turned 75. I was going to do it on my birthday, and I thought, “Nah, don’t do that.” You’ll look like you’re just doing a show.”

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Parton’s name has already been tightly linked with the ongoing pandemic as it was revealed that her $1 million donation toward its research helped fund the creation of the Moderna vaccine.

And yet, Parton is determined not to use that connection to “jump the line just because I could.” Of course, she wouldn’t be jumping the line at all due to her age, but the perception might still be there. There is already a lot of scrutiny on several celebrities and non-celebs alike who’ve gotten it.

“I’m not going to get mine until some more people get theirs. I don’t want it to look like I’m jumping the line just because I donated money,” explained Parton “I’m very funny about that. I’m going to get mine though, but I’m going to wait.”

In fact, she’s planning to make a bit of a spectacle when she does finally take the plunge, though even that isn’t about the spectacle but about spreading awareness and encouraging others.

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“When I get it, I’ll probably do it on camera so people will know and I’ll tell them the truth, if I have symptoms and all that,” said Parton. “Hopefully it’ll encourage people.”

As for all the public accolades and credit she’s gotten for her donation, Parton said, “I get a lot more credit than I deserve I think, but I was just happy to be a part of any and all of that.”

That humility and her hyper-awareness of public perception are at least part of why Parton may turn down one of the nation’s highest honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In fact, she’s already turned it down twice, when the Trump administration offered it to her.

On Monday, she told “Today” that she’s heard from the Biden administration, and she feels she may have to decline a third time.

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“I couldn’t accept it because my husband was ill and then they asked me again about it and I wouldn’t travel because of the Covid,” she explained. Now, though, she worries that turning down Trump twice and accepting it from Biden would make a statement she isn’t intending.

“Now I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure,” she said. On top of that, she told Hoda Kotb, “I’m not sure that I even deserve it. But it’s a nice compliment for people to think that I might deserve it.”

Through her Dolly Parton’s Imagination Literacy, she’s donated more than 100 million children’s books over the past 26 years. On top of that, her Dollywood Foundation quickly stepped up in the wake of 2016 wildfires in Tennessee to donate $1,000 per month to several hundred East Tennessean families. And that’s just two examples.

“I think everyone thinks you might deserve it,” Kotb told Parton. We can’t imagine there being any doubt.

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