Fairly unbeknownst to many, country music icon Dolly Parton has been making strides in the world of the COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. Parton’s early contributions to the vaccine race helped bring one of the monumental shots to the market. In 2020, Parton announced that she would be donating $1 million to the development of the Moderna vaccine.
“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,” Parton posted on Twitter last April.
The Moderna vaccine has now been widely distributed and has an efficacy rate of nearly 95%.
Dolly’s efforts have come full circle, as she recently was given the shot she helped to create. In February 2021, Tennessee allowed residents 70 and older to get the vaccine, and Dolly Parton made sure to join in line. Parton received the Moderna vaccine on March 2nd from none other than Nani Abumrad.
“I thought it was only appropriate that you should be the one to give me my shot today,” Parton said.
After getting her jab, Parton sang a COVID-themed rendition of her popular hit “Jolene,” in support of Moderna vaccine.
Vanderbilt University tweeted, “We love hearing @DollyParton sing ‘vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vacciiiiiiiinnnnne’ on our campus today, just before she got hers. Dolly’s generous support helped fund early research at Vanderbilt Health into what is now a vaccine that’s helping end the pandemic. THANK YOU, DOLLY!”
In her typical spunky fashion, Parton encouraged those who are hesitant or fearful of the vaccine to go out and get a jab: “I just wanna say to all of you cowards out there, don’t be such a chicken squat, get out there and get your shot.”
Parton has continued to show her selflessness and humility beyond the COVID pandemic. Tennessee recently voted to have a statue of Parton erected in her honor, to replace that of Confederate Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was leader of the Klu Klux Klan and a slave trader. A bill was introduced to place the statue on Tennessee Capitol grounds, overlooking the country music venue Ryman Auditorium. However, Parton rejected the offer.
“Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time,” Parton posted on Twitter and Instagram.
The character and humility of a legend like Dolly Parton is a refreshing breath of air in these times. She continues to make an impact not only in the country music industry, but in the lives of so many Americans with her generous philanthropic efforts. It’s people like Dolly who remind us that there is hope and gratefulness to be had, even amidst the darkness of the pandemic.
Meg Bauer is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business with a major in marketing. She currently works for a market research consulting firm in Michigan but has always had a passion for writing. Meg is especially interested in the topics of healthcare, environmental sustainability, and mental health awareness. In her free time, Meg enjoys yoga, playing guitar, and finding new recipes to try.