As the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s hope on the horizon. Drugmaker Moderna announced its vaccine for the novel coronavirus was 94.5% effective. For months, researchers, doctors, scientists and more have worked to produce a viable vaccine.
One major contributor to the team? Dolly Parton. The country singer made a $1 million donation in April to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The Vanderbilt team has been working with Moderna throughout the development process. They’ve also helped conduct vaccine trials for people in Nashville and surrounding areas.
Parton appeared on the TODAY Show earlier this week to talk about her donation and the progress of 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,” she said. “Evidently, it is. Let’s just hope we find a cure real soon.”
Parton’s contribution turned out to be quite beneficial to Moderna’s vaccine development. Her foundation, the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund, was included in the New England Journal of Medicine’s preliminary report on the vaccine and other research.
This isn’t the first act of kindness Parton has shown. She created the Imagination Library, which has mailed more than 100 million books to children in need. And in 2016, she pledged $1,000 per month for half a year to families that lost their homes in the Tennessee Wildfires.
There’s still plenty of discussion around the next steps after a vaccine is developed. First responders and healthcare staff will likely be first in line to receive the vaccine, though the order after that is less clear.
Even with all of that sorting out to do down the line, the creation of an effective vaccine will save a lot of lives. Parton is helping that push in a big way.