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Dolly Parton helps fund nearly 95% effective COVID-19 vaccine

The new Moderna vaccine was developed with support from the Dolly Parton Covid-19 Research Fund.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In addition to providing encouragement and even bedtime stories during the hard months of 2020, Dolly Parton has also assisted with the development of a potentially pandemic-ending vaccine. 

On Monday, the company Moderna said its vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from an ongoing study.

That vaccine was developed with support from the Dolly Parton Covid-19 Research Fund.

Parton first made the announcement about her donation back in April.

"My longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, who’s been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure," she posted on Twitter. 

Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research, encouraging other people who could afford it to make donations. 

"I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations," she continued.

That donation was made months ago, but the word really got out when Dolly's name was mentioned in the financial disclosure form and it got shared on social media.

On the Today Show Tuesday morning, Dolly said she'd just learned before the interview that she was "trending."

She said she was just happy that her dollars were making a difference.

"I'm happy that anything I do can help someone else," she said. "When I donated the money to the COVID fund, I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is. Let's just hope we can find a cure real soon."

According to Vanderbilt, researchers worked to identify and analyze antibodies isolated from the blood of survivors for their ability to neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

The results of Moderna's preliminary data from ongoing vaccine studies are “truly striking,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious-diseases expert. “The vaccines that we're talking about, and vaccines to come, are really the light at the end of the tunnel.”