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UNC grad Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett explains how COVID-19 vaccines work

Posted February 9, 2021 8:42 a.m. EST
Updated February 9, 2021 9:02 a.m. EST

— On Tuesday, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a Hillsborough native who helped develop the Moderna vaccine, spoke about coronavirus.

In her remarks, Corbett simplified the virus, explaining how it spreads and how coronavirus vaccines work. Her 10-minute update was part of the Orange County 23rd Annual Ag Summit.

"Viruses must use our bodies in order to spread," Corbett said. "So it's important to know how to protect ourselves and know how to allow ourselves to not be beacons of viral spread."

Corbett reminded everyone the importance of wearing a mask and maintaining a space of at least six feet from others.

"It's just being generally socially responsible," she said. "We're in a pandemic. About two people are dying every single minute in this country."

Corbett also spoke about how the coronavirus vaccine works, saying she just received her first dose this week.

"All we're doing is taking a small little piece of the virus," she said about vaccine development. "We give your body a small amount to build an immune response."

If you get Moderna or Pfizer's vaccine ... you have a 95% less chance of getting COVID-19," Corbett added. "So imagine that for you and then imagine that for everyone around you in your community. And that's the entire purpose of vaccines. The entire purpose of vaccines is to reduce the disease burden on a community."

According to NBC News, Corbett was born in Hurdle Mills, North Carolina, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the National Institute of Health's lead scientist for coronavirus vaccine research.

Gov. Roy Cooper and Dr. Anthony Fauci have both praised Corbett for her coronavirus research and contributions.

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