Dolly Parton’s $1 million donation helped fund Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

National News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WNCN/AP) — Back in April, legendary singer Dolly Parton announced a $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University for research on a cure for the coronavirus.

More than seven months later, it was revealed that Parton’s donation helped fund Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

According to her tweets back in April and an Instagram post, her longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad informed her that they were making advancements on research for a cure at Vanderbilt.

The singer also encouraged anyone who can afford it to make donations.

Moderna said Monday its shots provide strong protection — in fact claiming that its vaccine appears to be 94.5 percent effective, giving a dash of hope against the grim backdrop of coronavirus surges in the U.S. and around the world.

A week ago, competitor Pfizer Inc. announced its own COVID-19 vaccine appeared similarly effective — news that puts both companies on track to seek permission within weeks for emergency use in the U.S.

Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna’s president, welcomed the “really important milestone” but said having similar results from two different companies is what’s most reassuring.

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

“That should give us all hope that actually a vaccine is going to be able to stop this pandemic and hopefully get us back to our lives,” Hoge told The Associated Press.

Parton’s name indeed appears in the preliminary report of the vaccine among sponsors like the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Dr. Anthony Fauci heads.

Moderna’s vaccine, created with the National Institutes of Health, is being studied in 30,000 volunteers who received either the real vaccination or a dummy shot.

The strong results were a surprise. Scientists have warned for months that any COVID-19 shot may be only as good as flu vaccines, which are about 50% effective.

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