The African American viral immunologist credited with the development of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, provided a strong travel endorsement for Jamaica on the “Lawrence O’Donnell Show” on American television network MSNBC.
Dr. Corbett participated in an MSNBC town hall meeting where Dr. Joan Cephas and her son Matthew shared one of their reasons for deciding to get vaccinated, namely their love of travel. Matthew added that he had already booked his first post-vaccination trip to Jamaica. Dr. Corbett then revealed that she had family connections in Jamaica and also wanted to take a vacation in the island nation. She said that her brother-in-law comes from Jamaica and that she was happy that Matthew would be able to visit there. “I told him that I’m gonna hop in his suitcase. as I need a break,” she added.
Donnie Dawson, the deputy director of tourism for the Americas said that this kind of publicity is good for Jamaica, telling The Gleaner newspaper that “unexpected positive publicity from prominent, high-level sources” is always welcome and that Dr. Corbett’s endorsement was “a great boost.”
Dr. Corbett’s Jamaican travel endorsement was the second positive global boost for the country this past weekend. Germany declared that Jamaica is no longer considered a risk area for contracting the COVID-19 virus as of May 23, 2021.
Dr. Corbett currently works at the Vaccine Research Center at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She has a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of North Carolina. She was appointed to the Vaccine Research Center in 2014 and currently serves as the scientific lead of the facility’s Coronavirus Team. In February of 2021, Dr. Corbett was featured on the “Time 100 Next” list of Time magazine in the “innovators” category. Her profile on the list was written by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Health, who said that she was “right at the forefront of the development of the vaccine” and that she “has been central to the development of the Moderna mRNA vaccine and the Eli Lilly therapeutic monoclonal antibody that were first to enter clinical trials in the US.” Dr. Corbett also works toward rebuilding trust with vaccine-hesitant populations, including the Black community, by presenting educational programs about the COVID-19 vaccine’s development to Black Health Matters.
Photo Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett