Story at a glance

  • Dolly Parton donated $1 million towards developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The researchers have now announced a vaccine candidate that had a 94.5 percent efficacy rate in placebo-controlled clinical trials.
  • The singer and songwriter behind Dollywood is known for her philanthropy worldwide.

There are a lot of people involved in clinical studies and major medical research, most of whom the general public will never know. But there's one person acknowledged in the New England Journal of Medicine's preliminary report on Moderna's COVID-19 vaccination that was already a household name: Dolly Parton.


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The country singer and songwriter announced a $1 million donation back in April to a friend of hers, Naji Abumrad, a doctor and researcher at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where some of the tests were conducted in the process of developing both a potential vaccine and antibody treatment. 


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Parton’s philanthropy came as no surprise to fans and followers who have seen the millionaire donate generously to a number of causes in addition to her contributions through the Dollywood Foundation, which birthed the Imagination Library literacy initiative. Her relationship to Abumrad, however, is lesser known, but one journalist noted that it was chronicled in the first episode of his son's podcast, "Dolly Parton's America."

 

In 2013, Parton was involved in a self-described "fender bender" in Nashville and treated at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She walked away with minor injuries and a new friendship with Abumrad, one that, years later, helped develop a vaccine that was up to 94.5 percent effective against the virus behind a global pandemic. 


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Published on Nov 17, 2020