In November 2020, amid skyrocketing new COVID-19 cases worldwide, came good news: Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna announced promising preliminary findings in their ongoing efforts to develop vaccines to fight the disease ravaging the world. And as an added cherry on top, the Moderna vaccine got a boost from none other than beloved country music icon Dolly Parton.
Parton did donate money to help fund research into the coronavirus vaccine, as she acknowledged herself on her Twitter account:
Parton's name can be found in the funding disclosure on an article about the vaccine in the New England Journal of Medicine:
According to Vanderbilt University, Parton made a donation to the institution to support COVID-19 research in honor of her friend, Dr. Naji Abumrad, professor of surgery at Vanderbilt.
Her donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt "partially funded the biotechnology firm Moderna’s experimental vaccine, which a preliminary analysis released this week found is nearly 95 percent effective at preventing the illness," per The Washington Post.
Moderna, along with Pfizer, is racing to release a vaccine to fight the COVID-19 disease that has killed nearly a quarter of a million Americans.
The Parton story was a rare piece of good news to share in 2020 and prompted people to celebrate by singing one of Parton's most famous songs, "Jolene," replacing the title lyric with the word "vaccine."