Dolly Parton’s Donation Helped Fund Moderna’s COVID Vaccine

Curing the world, a million dollars at a time.

An unlikely friendship between one of music’s most legendary performers and a professor of surgery at Vanderbilt University could just be part of the cure for the coronavirus. It was revealed recently that Dolly Parton’s donation to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center for COVID-19 research helped fund Moderna’s research on their new vaccine.

In their preliminary report on the vaccine, the “Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund” was listed among many other donors and sponsors. This initially became a trending topic on Twitter, with people replacing the word “Jolene” in Parton’s hit song with “vaccine.”

However, it was Parton’s $1 million donation to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which she made way back in April, that contributed to Moderna’s research. Parton even talked about it on the “Today” show, saying, “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.”

Parton’s donation to Vanderbilt University came via a bond that she’d formed with Dr. Naji Abumrad, a physician and professor of surgery. Post-treatment at the Center after a car crash in 2013, the two became close friends. She revealed her donation to the Center’s research in April. 

The vaccine, last reported to be 94.5% effective, could be available as early as late December, although they’ll be going to high risk groups first. It’s the second vaccine with this high a success rate to come out now, following Pfizer’s.

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