Mattel Models Barbie After Woman Who Developed COVID-19 Vaccine

by Madison Vanderberg
Steve Parsons/PA Images/Getty and Mattel

Barbie unveils new dolls made in the image of COVID-19 first responders

Mattel just made a Barbie doll in the image of British vaccinologist and U.K. Professor Sarah Gilbert, who was one of the people that developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Barbie has a long history of making dolls based on iconic women, but a Barbie doll for a COVID-19 vaccinologist is super rad.

The doll looks just like the scientist, with her auburn hair and signature dark-rimmed glasses. Funnily enough, Gilbert told The Guardian she initially thought it was “strange” to have a Barbie made in her likeness, but ultimately she said she hopes it inspires the next generation of female scientists.

Steve Parsons/PA Images/Getty

PA Images via Getty Images

“I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of girls into STEM careers and hope that children who see my Barbie will realize how vital careers in science are to help the world around us,” she said. “My wish is that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist.”

Mattel actually made five other Barbie dolls, all created in the image of women who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The five other dolls include: U.S. health care worker Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz, a frontline COVID-19 worker who joined forces with other Asian-American physicians to fight racial bias, emergency room nurse Amy O’Sullivan who treated the first COVID-19 patient in the U.S., Canadian doctor and advocate against systemic racism in health care Chicka Stacy Oriuwa, Brazilian biomedical researcher Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus who is credited for leading the sequencing of the genome of a COVID-19 variant in Brazil, and Australian doctor and protective gown developer Kirby White.


These dolls are more than just showing young girls that they can have jobs in healthcare and the sciences, but it’s an effort on Mattel’s part to thank and honor the heroes that have worked tirelessly in the fight against COVID-19.

“Barbie recognizes that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened,” Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel, said in a statement. “To shine a light on their efforts, we are sharing their stories and leveraging Barbie’s platform to inspire the next generation to take after these heroes and give back. Our hope is to nurture and ignite the imaginations of children playing out their own storyline as heroes.”

Online, a lot of people are loving these new dolls.

Barbie will also donate $5 for each Barbie doctor, nurse, or paramedic doll sold at participating Target locations during the month of August to the First Responders Children’s Foundation (FRCF), benefiting the children of first responders.