In some much needed good news, it has emerged that Dolly Parton has helped fund one of the effective Covid-19 vaccines. The country music icon donated $1 million to aid research by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and that research helped Moderna conduct work that led to yesterday's announcement of a 95% effective vaccine. (Cue vaccine, vaccine, vaaaciiine jokes.)
Dolly - best known for songs including Jolene and I Will Always Love You and starring in films like Steel Magnolias - made the generous donation in April, writing on Instagram: '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 that research of the coronavirus for a cure. I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations.' Dr Abumrad and Parton became friends after the singer was involved in a car accident in 2014 and was treated at Vanderbilt.
The UK is expected to have five million doses of the Moderna vaccine, enough to vaccinate 2.5 million people, by spring. It has already outlined plans that prioritise the oldest people for immunisation.
This isn't the first time Dolly has acted as a philanthropist. The musician runs a scheme called the Imagination Library which gifts books to children starting school around the world. In 2018, she reached the impressive milestone of donating 100 million - yes, 100 million - books to children. She also produced Buffy The Vampire Slayer and founded Dollywood, a Dolly Parton theme park.
Dolly, you're an angel. A very busy one.