American Hero

Moderna reveals its secret weapon in fighting COVID-19: Dolly Parton

Publicity still. Via Netflix.

Following a promising announcement by pharmaceutical company Moderna of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, investigative journalists have uncovered a partial source of the vaccine’s research funding: gay icon and American goddess Dolly Parton.

CNBC reports that Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s research to combat Covid-19, which included vaccine development. Parton announced in April, via her Instagram account, that she had made the donation in the name of her friend, Dr. Naji Abumrad.

“My longtime friend, Dr. Naji Abumrad, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure,” Parton wrote. “I am making a $1 million donation to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations.”

Related: Dolly Parton-inspired rooftop bar opens at Nashville hotel

Moderna’s vaccine, which has yet to receive final FDA approval or peer review, showed 94% efficacy in clinical trials.

Now 74, Dolly Parton has a long history of philanthropy and social consciousness. In 2016, for example, she spearheaded a telethon for victims of the 2016 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires, raising a reported $9 million in the process. Earlier this year, Parton also made subtle jab for the #BlackLivesMatter movement, taking to Instagram to say, “I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen. And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little White a**es are the only ones that matter? No!”

We hope Joe Biden is paying attention. It’s high time Ms. Parton received the Presidential Medal of Honor.