Progress in the Pandemic

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is an immunologist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been very challenging. People have lost their jobs, schools and students have struggled with remote learning, and most recently, more than 500,000 people have died in the United States. Thankfully, scientists have been working to develop a vaccine to protect people from COVID-19. A vaccine is an injection that helps a person fight a disease.

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is a leader on the team that developed one of the vaccines for COVID-19. The team was able to make the vaccine in a shorter amount of time than it usually takes. Because of the urgent nature of the virus, it was easier to get the money they needed and volunteers for trials. Her team researched and tested its work to make sure the vaccine is effective. While it won’t keep everyone from getting sick, the vaccine helps keep people from getting severely ill.

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett speaks with vaccine and infectious disease experts as they tour the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

We receive vaccines, or shots, that protect us from serious diseases like influenza, measles, or chickenpox. Vaccines work in several ways. Most vaccines work with our natural immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria that can harm us. When we get a vaccine, our immune system reacts to the vaccine and responds the way it would if we had been infected with the virus. This prepares our bodies to fight the infection in case we encounter it again.

If enough people get the vaccine, the world will be able to better manage COVID-19. Scientists are confident that the vaccine is safe. It will help doctors and hospitals focus on helping people who get very sick, whether from COVID-19 or from another disease. The coronavirus vaccine is a positive moment in the middle of a long and tough pandemic.

What Do You Think? How do you think the news about the vaccine for COVID-19 will affect your life?

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Photo Credit: (t)Timothy Nwachukwu/The New York Times, (b)Evan Vucci/AP