As COVID vaccines start to roll out, we're hoping these famous people don't hesitate to get immunized.
On Wednesday Lord of the Rings actor Sir Ian McKellen received his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and said that he felt "euphoric."
Frankly, we felt the same way. At 81 years old McKellen is in a high-risk category for a severe case of COVID. Knowing that the beloved actor and gay rights activist is on his way to immunity is one small anxiety we can remove from the heaping pile of fear and tragedy that has been growing since March.
As this awful year wraps up — with some faint light at the end of the tunnel — this news gave us an opportunity to breathe a small sigh of relief. And we need so many more of those right now.
So as Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are rolled out, here are nine other celebrities who need to hurry up and get vaccinated so we can all sleep a little easier.
Speaking of Sir Ian McKellen, we can't forget his best buddy and fellow knight, Star Trek: TNG star Sir Patrick Stewart. Just like their iconic X-Men characters Magneto and Professor Charles Xavier — though with substantially less super-powered violence — the two are inextricably linked.
They've been friends for decades, and whether they're kissing on the red carpet, touring Coney Island in bowler caps, the two are always better together. Ian McKellen even officiated Patrick Stewart's 2013 wedding to singer Sunny Ozell.
The 80-year-old Picard star has spent his time in quarantine well — advocating for pit bull adoption and reading Shakespeare's poetry to his 1.6 million followers on Instagram. But he ran out of sonnets back in October, so as long as Gandalf is getting immunized, so should Captain Picard.
Betty White is 98 years old and still kicking ass. Since 2010, when the Internet came together to get her a gig hosting SNL, the Golden Girls star has had a career resurgence, and we're not ready for her to retire yet. Especially not with Christmas nearly upon us, and Lifetime's Betty White Christmas movie delayed until next year.
2021 is 99% guaranteed to be a huge improvement on the current state of affairs, but that will be especially true if we can look forward to watching Betty White train santas next December. So while a very tough 104-year-old woman in Spain recently beat COVID — and Betty White could probably do the same — it would be great to know that it wasn't even an issue.
So go get immunized, Betty!
I’m still on a mission to end foolishness by 2021. It looks like @theweeknd and @chancetherapper are joining me. Wh… https://t.co/yoMSHfk4BA— Dionne Warwick (@Dionne Warwick) 1607966566.0
Dionne Warwick has been an music icon since the 1950s, and the "Walk on By" singer is still active. The R&B legend recently earned the title of "Queen of Twitter" following a series of hilarious no-nonsense tweets.
Among the highlights were Warwick's confusion over Chance the Rapper and The Weeknd's chosen monikers, tweeting at Chance, "If you are very obviously a rapper why did you put it in your stage name? I cannot stop thinking about this." She then called out The Weeknd for his odd approach to spelling before adding, "If you have 'The' in your name i'm coming for you. I need answers today."
Warwick's social media activity even earned her a shoutout on Saturday Night Live, in a sketch with Ego Nwodim portraying the singer as the host of her own talk show, and causing Warwick to mistakenly refer to Billie Eilish as "William Eyelash."
But as great as her social media presence has been in its own right, what's even better is the fact that it has spawned some real good in the world. Following their Twitter exchanges, Warwick is teaming up with Chance the Rapper and The Weeknd on a charity single called "Nothing's Impossible".
Raising money for the nonprofit Not Impossible Foundation, which seeks to eradicate hunger worldwide, the forthcoming song is part of Warwick's declared "mission to end foolishness by 2021." But if she's going to win out against foolishness, she needs to be at the top of her game — which means she'll have no time for COVID.
In other words, we need Dionne Warwick to get vaccinated so she can remain the undisputed queen of Twitter and hopefully make another visit to Popdust in a post-COVID year.
Speaking of older celebrities blowing up on social media, British naturalist and documentarian Sir David Attenborough recently broke records on Instagram, collecting a million followers faster than anyone in the platform's history. At 94 years old he joined Instagram as part of his effort to promote his new film A Life on Our Planet.
The movie's stated goals are to document the reality of climate change's catastrophic effects on the Earth, and to chart a path toward a more sustainable future. Those are some big goals, and Attenborough is going to need to stay healthy if he's going to help us navigate away from Armageddon.
Also, since he recently started lending his soothing narration to mindfulness exercises for the Headspace app, our mental health may literally depend on him maintaining a healthy set of lungs.
Dolly Parton is a constant delight. Whether she's reading you bedtime stories, sending free books to children, being a beacon for racial equity in the country music scene, or just being an incredibly talented singer-songwriter, we're always happy to have her around. At 74 years old, the "Jolene" singer shouldn't be taking any risks with her health.
Also, Parton donated $1 million to help fund Moderna's vaccine research back in April, so surely that should be worth a priority spot in the line for vaccination.
James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones' voice is a brilliant actor with one of the most iconic voices of all time. From Darth Vader to Mufasa to King Jaffe Joffer in Coming to America, he has secured his place in film history. And with the long-awaited sequel Coming 2 America set for release in March of 2021, he's far from done.
But at 89 years old, Jones suffers from type 2 diabetes, putting him at particular risk when it comes to COVID. The recent decision to put Hayden Christensen back in the Darth Vader helmet notwithstanding, we all know that Star Wars' most iconic villain would be nothing without James Earl Jones' incredible voice.
Basically, think of how you feel when you watch the saddest scene in The Lion King (you know the one). That's how sad the entire country is going to be if we screw up by not getting James Earl Jones vaccinated.
Bernie Sanders is 79 years old. Yet over the last five years he has been an instrumental part of a transformational movement in American politics — with young progressives at its core.
He has spent decades fighting for the rights and needs of the working class, and he continues to do so as "moderate" and Right-wing senators resist any COVID relief legislation that includes even bare minimum direct payments. He was critical in getting necessary legislation like Medicare for All and a Green New Deal to be taken seriously, and now stands to make a real difference as Joe Biden's likely pick for Labor Secretary.
Whether or not he technically qualifies as a celebrity, it's essential that we get Bernie vaccinated ASAP so he can keep fighting and live to see the fruits of his lifetime of hard work.
At 71 years old, Jeff Bridges is younger than most of the celebrities on this list, but the star of The Big Lebowski and Tron is currently receiving treatment for lymphoma. That treatment seems to be going well, as Bridges recently announced that he was "feeling good," but it still puts him at a higher risk category for COVID-19.
With that said, it's not yet clear what kind of impact the vaccines might have on cancer patients and other people with compromised immune systems. So while we don't necessarily want "the Dude" to be the first in line for vaccination, we're hoping that immunization will be a safe option for COVID protection, and wishing Jeff Bridges a speedy recovery.
Another celebrity who needs to be extra careful about COVID is Selena Gomez. The "Ice Cream" singer is only 28 years old, but she suffers from the autoimmune disease lupus and, in 2017, received a kidney transplant from her good friend Francia Raisa.
Organ recipients are generally required to take immunosuppressants to prevent their bodies from rejecting the foreign organs, but that also puts them at higher risk for COVID. So Gomez is another case of a celebrity who should probably not rush to be immunized — but shouldn't put it off too long either.
So as we look forward to 2021, we can hopefully look forward to vaccinations for healthcare workers, ourselves, and our loved ones — and also these celebrities. It's the necessary step to finally moving on from this awful pandemic.
For anyone whose curious, the CDC has information on when you might be eligible for a free vaccine.