Culture

Queen Dolly Parton Helped Fund the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla

Country music icon Dolly Parton has silently been funding COVID-19 research—to the tune of $1 million, to be specific.

It was reported back in October that she donated to Vanderbilt University for COVID-19 research; she told TIME that she wanted to help “in every way” that she could.

The 74-year-old has known the head of the university’s Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation, Dr. Naji Abumrad, since 2014, when she was treated there after a car accident. It was Abumrad who told her about the “exciting advancements” in COVID-19 research there.

The news didn’t go viral then, but today, it’s everywhere, because it turns out that the research Parton funded aided along the development of the Moderna vaccine.

Boasting a 94.5% efficacy rate, Moderna’s candidate could be critical in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Combined with Pfizer’s vaccine, which is about 90 percent effective, a light at the end of a long, dark, and tragic pandemic has appeared. Both companies will seek FDA emergency use approval soon.

Parton is known to be a philanthropist; for one, she founded Imagination Library, through which she’s gifted about 150 million books to kids. Four years ago, she helped out residents of her native Tennessee left homeless by wildfires by providing $1,000 monthly stipends.

She’s also partly responsible for the existence of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in case you’ve missed that trivia every time it makes the internet rounds. Her production company, Sandollar Entertainment, produced the late ‘90s, early 2000s classic, as well as the eponymous movie that came before it.

Thanks for everything, Dolly.