Dolly Parton’s $1 million donation helps fund COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna

National News

Dolly Parton accepts the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The payoff from one of Dolly Parton’s latest acts of charity is proving once again why some of her fans call her “Saint Dolly.”

The legendary musician’s sizable donation earlier this year of $1 million helped fund the development of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, which became the second coronavirus vaccine to recently report an effective rate of more than 90%.

Her name appeared in the preliminary report published this week alongside other groups that supported the vaccine’s development. It specifically lists the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a sponsor.

Moderna said its vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from an ongoing study. A week ago, competitor Pfizer Inc. announced its own vaccine looked 90% effective — news that puts both companies on track to seek permission within weeks for emergency use in the U.S.

Parton announced in April that she gave $1 million to Vanderbilt for research on a cure for the coronavirus after her longtime friend, Dr. Naji Abumrad, informed her that they are making advancements.

She appeared Tuesday morning on NBC News, where the anchors asked her about her contribution to this major development in the fight against COVID-19.

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

The developments on two potential coronavirus vaccines come as the country deals with a surge in new cases and hospitalizations ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Texas reached the grim milestone of reporting more than 1 million cases since the pandemic began, and it’s close to confirming more than 20,000 deaths from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Public health experts, including Austin’s top doctor, are urging people to stay home for Thanksgiving and meet virtually with loved ones who don’t live with them.

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