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Dolly Parton Gave $1 Million To COVID-19 Research That Led To A Promising Vaccine

The country music queen donated $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which helped fund research and development for Moderna’s vaccine candidate.

Dolly Parton attends We Are Family Foundation at Hammerstein Ballroom on November 05, 2019 in New York City | Getty
Dolly Parton attends We Are Family Foundation at Hammerstein Ballroom on November 05, 2019 in New York City | Getty

Country music legend Dolly Parton has been credited with partially funding research and development that led to Moderna's promising COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Preliminary results of the vaccine trials showed it was nearly 95% effective at preventing the virus. 

Parton donated $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in April after her friend and professor of surgery Dr. Naji Abumrad told her the university was working on “exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure,” she said in an Instagram post. 

The advancements she spoke of eventually led to a vaccine candidate called mRNA-1273, which pharmaceutical giant Moderna said this week was 94.5% effective in clinical trials. A preliminary report published in The New England Journal of Medicine about the vaccine even credited “the Dolly Parton Covid-19 Research Fund” as one of the supporters.

Parton spoke to NBC’s the “TODAY” show on Tuesday after news outlets reported that her large contribution helped fund the vaccine. 

“I’m just happy that anything I do can help somebody else and when I donated the money to the COVID fund, I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is,” Parton said in the interview. “Lets just hope we find a cure real soon.”

Moderna’s promising vaccine news came just one week after Pfizer announced that its own vaccine candidate had a 90% efficiency rate. Both companies said they would submit the vaccines for Emergency Use Authorization with the Food and Drug Administration in the coming weeks. 

After word got out that Parton was a major donor to a potentially life-saving vaccine, her name was trending on Twitter and many fans praised the music icon.