Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is a viral immunologist and research fellow. She leads coronavirus vaccine research at the National Institutes of health. Dr. Corbett has a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, she is also at the forefront of developing the coronavirus vaccine. Dr. Kissmekia Corbett worked on the team with the pharmaceutical company Moderna in developing the vaccine, which was found to be 94% effective and was authorized for emergency use by the FDA. Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett joined Fauci’s team six years ago and worked with the team to develop a vaccine to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an April 2020 interview with Black Enterprise magazine, Dr. Kissmekia Corbett spoke about her experience as a black scientist and how she deals with different people.
“I like to say that I can go from the trap house to the White House in smooth transition. And I have. I communicate well across different communities. I speak to scientists how I speak to scientists, and then I am able to speak to the layperson how I speak to [the] general population. At some point, you just have to say, ‘I don’t care what they think,’ and just show up and let your work speak for you.”
According to the National Urban League, black people are infected with coronavirus at a rate three times as much as whites. Preexisting conditions, multigenerational housing, economic racism, and more blacks are categorized as essential workers contributing to higher COVID-19 rates.
With the announcement of the vaccine’s approval, black Americans are skeptical of the vaccine’s safety. Aware of the Black Community’s mistrust of the vaccine because of historical racism, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett says it will take time to rebuild trust in black communities. Still, she is committed to “doing her part.”
Dedicated to her community, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett feels a sense of duty in her work.
Danielle Sanders is a writer and journalist living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSandersOfficial.