"I probably get a lot more credit than I deserve," said Parton, who donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center last year to help develop the COVID-19 vaccine
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Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton
| Credit: Invision/AP/Shutterstock

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit early last year, Dolly Parton wanted to help. She decided to donate $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and that money went into the development of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, one of the three groundbreaking vaccines now in use in the U.S.

"When the pandemic came out I just felt kind of led to do something because I knew something bad was on the rise, and I just wanted to kind of help with that, so I donated to help with that," Parton told U.K.'s Absolute Radio on Tuesday.

The country music legend said she played just a "small part" in the development of the Moderna vaccine, which is shown to be highly effective in preventing severe illness or death from COVID-19.

"Mine was a small part, of course. I probably get a lot more credit than I deserve, but I was happy to be part of that and to be able to try to stop something in its tracks that's really become such a monster for all of us," Parton said.

"So I was happy to do that," she continued. "My heart just kind of leads me into where I'm supposed go and what I'm supposed to do at the time."

RELATED VIDEO: Dolly Parton Receives COVID Vaccine As She Calls for Others to Get it

Parton had donated to Vanderbilt because she knew her "longtime friend," professor of surgery Dr. Naji Abumrad, was working on COVID-19 research.

"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," she shared on Instagram in April 2020.

Once it was available to her age group in March 2021, Parton got her first dose of the Moderna vaccine and urged others to sign up.

In a video on her Instagram, Parton riffed on her hit song "Jolene," singing: "Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine. I'm begging of you, please don't hesitate. Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine. Because once you're dead, then that's a bit too late."

The country queen then took a more serious tone, and pushed the "cowards" who don't want to get vaccinated to change their minds.

"I'm trying to be funny now, but I'm dead serious about the vaccine," Parton said. "I think we all want to give back to normal, whatever that is. And that would be a great shot in the arm, wouldn't it if we could get back to that? But anyhow, I just wanted to encourage everybody 'cause the sooner we get to feeling better, the sooner we are going to get back to being normal."

"I just want to say to all of you cowards out there: Don't be such a chicken squat. Get out there and get your shot!" she ended.