Dolly Parton among major contributors that helped develop Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

ATLANTA — A COVID-19 vaccine, which was being tested right here in metro Atlanta, got a big boost from one of country music’s biggest icons – Dolly Parton.

Parton made a $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in honor of her friend, Dr. Naji Abumrad, to support research teams working on coronavirus cures, ABC News reports.

On Monday, Moderna announced promising early results of its COVID-19 vaccine, showing a 94.5% effectiveness against the virus.

Among the list of research supporters named in the New England Journal of Medicine was “the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund (Vanderbilt University Medical Center).”


ABC News says Parton’s money has also gone toward studies of convalescent plasma, which takes the antibodies from patients who had the virus to treat those who are currently infected with it.

Atlanta had a major role to play in testing Moderna’s vaccine. There is still more testing to do, but local doctors are optimistic about the vaccine’s potential.

Emory University was part of the first clinical trial for the vaccine developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna.

Emory University said it tested some 700 volunteers out of 30,000 nationwide.

As for Parton, she reacted to the news of the vaccine on Tuesday, saying: “When I donated the money to the COVID fund I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is!” she wrote. “Let’s just hope we can find a cure real soon.”