Footnote in Vaccine News Credits a Familiar Face

Dolly Parton's $1M donation to Vanderbilt helped fund Moderna's vaccine
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2020 11:26 AM CST
Vaccine Researchers Give a Nod to ... Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton in a scene from "Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square," courtesy of Netflix.   (Netflix via AP)

Everyone was so excited by the New England Journal of Medicine's announcement that Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine was shown to be 94.5% effective that many missed the footnote giving partial credit to a country music superstar. Back in April, Dolly Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and its efforts to produce a coronavirus vaccine. That included Moderna's vaccine trial. At the time, she said her friend Naji Abumrad, a surgeon at Vanderbilt whom she met while being treated for injuries from a car accident in 2014, "informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards that research of the coronavirus for a cure" and she wanted to support those efforts, per the Guardian. She also encouraged others "that can afford it to make donations."

Fast forward to this week: NEJM's report credits "the Dolly Parton Covid-19 Research Fund" as one of the supporters of Moderna's vaccine. While Parton has not publicly claimed any credit, she spoke to Today earlier this week about her philanthropic spirit. "I've often said that I count my blessings a lot more often than I count my money … I just want to be able to lift up people if I can, and do something, put some joy out there," she said. "We can save the world we're living in." The 74-year-old—who is out with her first Christmas album in 30 years as well as a Netflix Christmas special—keeps busy with her charity, Imagination Library, which has gifted more than 130 million books to children. She also donated to families affected by the 2016 fires in Gatlinburg, Tenn., per CNBC. (More Dolly Parton stories.)

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