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Vaccine ‘developed by an African American woman’, says Fauci responding to concerns, mistrust

Kizzmekia Corbett NIH Fauci Trump COVID coronavirus
Posted at 3:57 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 18:00:16-05

Dr. Anthony Fauci has been touting the safety of the new Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, hoping to convince the roughly 40% of Americans who, surveys show, will not get a shot.

A Pew Research survey showed that the rate for not getting a shot was higher among the Black community. Given this country’s history of government experimentation on communities of color, the distrust and skepticism is understandable.

During a live interview this week on Facebook hosted by BlackDoctor.org, Fauci acknowledged the troubled history and highlighted a Black doctor who was instrumental in developing the vaccine.

Fauci said the vaccine had “absolutely exquisite levels” of efficacy, and “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 during the interview that was streamed on Facebook live.

Dr. Corbett tweeted after the interview, thanking the hosts for asking the question.

Corbett is the National Institute of Health's lead scientist for coronavirus vaccine research. She is part of a team that worked with Moderna on one of the two mRNA vaccines expected to receive FDA emergency use authorization.

"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," Fauci added. "And that is just a fact."

Corbett also addressed distrust on the CNN podcast “Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction” this week.

“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,” she told host Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

She said rebuilding trust in medical institutions will take time, and that's something health experts have to accept.