Black woman doctor key to COVID-19 vaccine

While many members of the African American community have reservations regarding COVID-19 vaccinations, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert who has been leading the charge against this plague wants to ease the concerns of Black people. Fauci addressed members of the National Urban League on Tuesday and revealed information that a Black woman, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, has been a key player in developing one of the vaccines that will soon be available to Americans later this month.

“The very vaccine that’s one of the two that has absolutely exquisite levels—94 to 95 percent efficacy against clinical disease and almost 100 percent efficacy against serious disease that are shown to be clearly safe—that vaccine was actually developed in my institute’s vaccine research center by a team of scientists led by Dr. Barney Graham and his close colleague, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, or Kizzy Corbett,” Fauci said.

“So, the first thing you might want to say to my African American brothers and sisters is that the vaccine that you’re going to be taking was developed by an African American woman,” he continued. “And that is just a fact.”

The vaccine Fauci is referring to is the one that will be released by Moderna, one of two vaccines that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to give emergency use authorization to (the other will be distributed by Pfizer).

“I would say to people who are vaccine-hesitant that you’ve earned the right to ask the questions that you have around these vaccines and this vaccine development process,” Corbett told the CNN podcast “Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction.”

Black Americans were noticeably absent from vaccine trials while vaccines were being developed, with less than 20 percent believing that the treatment will be safe and effective.

“Trust, especially when it has been stripped from people, has to be rebuilt in a brick-by-brick fashion,” Dr. Corbett said. “And so, what I say to people firstly is that I empathize, and then secondly is that I’m going to do my part in laying those bricks. And I think that if everyone on our side, as physicians and scientists, went about it that way, then the trust would start to be rebuilt.”

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