Dolly Parton has said she feels she was given more credit than she deserved for helping fund the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.
The beloved country music star donated one million dollars (£725,000) to Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Nashville, Tennessee, which participated in the research for the vaccine.
The singer, 75, said she had felt compelled to help because she sensed “something bad” was on its way.
She told Absolute Radio Country: “When the pandemic came out, I just felt led to do something because I knew something bad was on the rise and I just kind of wanted to help with that, so I donated to help with that.
“So, mine was a small part, of course, but I probably get a lot more credit than I deserve, but I was happy to be part of that, and to be able to try stop something in its tracks that’s really just become such a monster for all of us.”
She received a dose of her own medicine in March when she had the vaccine she helped fund. While documenting the event, she changed the lyrics to one of her best-known ballads to encourage people to have the vaccine.
To the tune of Jolene, Parton sang: “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, I’m begging of you, please don’t hesitate. Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, because once you’re dead, then that’s a bit too late.”
The Queen of Country also wrote the lyrics and music to the popular 9 to 5: The Musical, named after her best-selling hit, but she does not star in the production.
The show tells the story of three female work colleagues pushed to breaking point by their sexist boss and is set to start touring in the UK again at the end of August after being shut down due to the pandemic.
Asked whether she will return to the UK, she said: “I don’t have any plans to come unless it would be to do something with the 9 to 5 musical, but I’m not planning to do any touring right now.
“We have got to let all this Covid stuff and travelling be a little easier, we have got to all stay smart and be good, but I definitely want to come back to the UK, because I love my fans there.
“So, there’ll be a time, there’ll be a reason and there’ll be a place.”
She explained that one of the messages she tries to convey with the musical is one of female empowerment and equality.
Parton added: “I think we should all be allowed to be ourselves, whether it’s women in the workplace, if they’re mistreated or if they do the work and don’t get the credit for it.
“I think whoever does the job should be recognised and paid for that, shouldn’t matter whether your male or female.”