Country music legend Dolly Parton is being praised online after helping fund research for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna that was found it to be 94.5% effective against the virus, according to preliminary data.
In an interview on "TODAY," Parton briefly discussed her role in backing the research efforts to find a coronavirus vaccine.
"I'm just happy that anything I do can help somebody else," she said Tuesday. "When I donated money to the COVID fund, I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is. Let's just hope we find a cure real soon."
Back in April, Parton made a $1 million contribution toward coronavirus research efforts at Vanderbuilt University. She said her longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad from the university informed her there were "some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure."
When Moderna released findings that showed a highly effective success rate in preventing coronavirus, fans were quick to praise Parton after spotting her name in the funding section of the New England Journal of Medicine's preliminary report.
"The important thing to know is Dolly Parton funded the moderna vaccine and will save us all because she is good," said writer Lauren Hough.
One Twitter user replaced the words "vaccine" with the chorus of one of Parton's hit song, "Jolene."
With rising cases all over the country and nearly 250,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S., fans and doctors alike thanked Parton for her donation.
"Just a moment of profound gratitude to Dolly Parton and her COVID-19 Research Fund," said Esther Choo, an emergency physician and professor at Oregon Health & Science University. "It's a tremendously discouraging time. But still, we can always find the helpers. Don't lose hope."
Moderna said Monday its shots provide strong protection in the fight against COVID. Last week, Pfizer announced its own COVID-19 vaccine appeared to be similarly effective — news that puts both companies on track to seek permission for emergency use in the U.S.
While preliminary results appeared promising, Moderna said the study is continuing and acknowledged the protection rate might change as more COVID-19 infections are detected and added to the calculations. Also, it's too soon to know how long protection lasts.