Toy giant Mattel said Wednesday it hoped to "inspire the next generation" after creating a model of its iconic Barbie doll in honour of Sarah Gilbert, co-creator of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
Gilbert said she found the news "very strange" but hoped "children who see my Barbie will realise how vital careers in science are to help the world around us.
"My wish is that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist."
The toy company created models in honour of five other women in the sciences: US healthcare workers Amy O'Sullivan and Audrey Cruz, Canadian campaigner Chika Stacy Oriuwa, Brazilian researcher Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, and Australian medic Kirby White.
"Barbie recognises that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened," said Lisa McKnight, senior vice president of Barbie and dolls at Mattel.
"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.