Home >Magazine >Another Reason to Love Dolly Parton: She Helped Fund a COVID Vaccine

Another Reason to Love Dolly Parton: She Helped Fund a COVID Vaccine

Have you heard the new Dolly Parton song? It goes, "Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine, Vac-se-ee-en." Here's how a national treasure may have helped solve a national crisis.

We’ve already written about how much we admired Dolly Parton for being an early feminist. But our love has reached new heights with the news this week that she had contributed $1 million to research that ended up hitting upon a COVID vaccine reported to be 95 percent effective.

It all started with a minor car accident Parton suffered back in 2013. During the recuperation, she befriended her doctor, Naji Abumrad, a physician and professor of surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. They shared a lot more in common than you would think given that Parton was raised in the hollows of East Tennessee and Abumrad is an immigrant from Lebanon. They both had grown up very poor in the mountains and were both curious about world events. They’ve remained friends ever since.

Last spring, when Parton and Abumrad were talking about COVID, he told her about “exciting developments” made on early vaccine research by a team at Vanderbilt. This news led Parton to make her donation, given in honor of Abumrad, to the research that partially funded the biotechnology firm Moderna’s experimental vaccine.

Read More: How Dumb is This? Older People are Often Excluded from COVID Research

Call It The Dolly Parton Vaccine

“Her work made it possible to expedite the science behind the testing,” Abumrad, 76, told the Washington Post this week. “Without a doubt in my mind, her funding made the research toward the vaccine go 10 times faster than it would be without it.”

“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,” Parton told the Today Show. “Evidently, it is. Let’s just hope we find a cure real soon.”

Parton’s important gift emphasizes the goodness and humanity behind the iconic, big-blonde-big-boobs facade we’ve come to know. As she said in the recent documentary about her life: “I know I look totally bizarre and artificial, but I’m totally real inside.” Yes you are! Thanks Dolly!!

By NextTribe Editors


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