Dolly Parton has praised the ‘exciting’ news that her $1million hospital donation has helped to fund Moderna’s much-heralded COVID-19 vaccine.
The musician, 74, contributed the funds to Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Nashville, Tennessee, for coronavirus research in April, after the hospital was ‘good to her and her family through the years’.
This week, US company Moderna announced its coronavirus vaccine may be 94.5% effective against Covid-19, and Parton is namechecked in the preliminary report.
Published in the New England Journal Of Medicine, the report states that the work was supported by the ‘Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund (Vanderbilt University Medical Centre)’ among other groups.
But the country music icon admitted she didn’t know it was the programme she was part of when she first heard the good news.
Speaking on BBC’s The One Show on Tuesday night, Dolly admitted she was ‘already at work’ and doing interviews when someone asked her on air about the vaccine.
She said: ‘I’m so excited about the news. I heard that yesterday and I didn’t realise that was part of the programme that I was part of. So I feel very, very honoured and proud.’
Dolly donated $1million to the programme at Vanderbilt Hospital in April, which they then called the ‘Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund’.
The singer said: ‘When the pandemic started many months ago I just kind of felt led to put some money into a programme at Vanderbilt Hospital, it’s a wonderful hospital here.
Donation: Dolly Parton, 74, was recently revealed to have donated $1million to a programme which funded Moderna’s promising COVID-19 vaccine
‘It’s been good to me and my family through the years so I donated $1million and they called it the Dolly Parton Covid fund.
‘So out of that they actually got more money and it just started developing and they were developing all these wonderful things.
‘So I just found out like I said today actually that it was for real that was part of the programme that we had started.
‘I’m sure many, many millions of dollars by many people went into that but I just felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that hopefully will grow into something great and help to heal this world.’
Good to her: The country singer contributed $1million to Vanderbilt Hospital, which she said has been ‘good to her and her family through the years’
Dolly revealed her generous donation in a tweet in April. She said: ‘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.
‘I am making a donation of 1 million dollars to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations.’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed on Monday that Britain would get 5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine starting in March 2021, if it’s approved by regulators.
Didn’t know: Dolly told Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas that she didn’t know it was the programme she was part of when she first heard the news
Last month, Dolly released her first Christmas album in her 30 year career, saying that this year was perfect because ‘people are home more than usual’.
She said: ‘People are going to be in their homes more than usual. We can’t travel and do all the things we want so I wanted to do something special.
‘I had the time because I was also locked down and I’m one of those people I’m going to make the most of my time no matter what.
‘So I just started putting the album together and even during the little musical interludes, the turnarounds I would talk to people and feel like I’m kind of there in your house so we can kind of having Christmas together.’