▶ Watch Video: Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett on changing the game in science

At just 36 years old, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett worked night and day with a team of scientists developing Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in record time. She has also taken on vaccine hesitancy, and has spent her career fighting for equality in healthcare.  

Her hard work caught the attention of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided funding for studies that Corbett contributed to.  

“She’s an absolute game changer because when she was at that National Institutes of Health, she really laid down the backbone for the COVID-19 vaccine,” Melinda French Gates told “CBS Mornings.” 

French Gates selected Corbett to be part of the “CBS Mornings” “Changing the Game” series.  

Since Corbett’s team developed the vaccine, she said she’s hardly had time to relax.  She said she is motivated to improve peoples’ health around the world and fixing any inequalities.  

“I was an undergrad when the HIV pandemic was in an uproar. I was in Baltimore where they had some of the worst case numbers. And one thing that I saw as a sociology and a biology major, was that it really only mattered what neighborhood you lived in,” she said. “The same types of disparities that we saw with COVID-19, we saw with HIV, we’ve seen with so many other diseases.” 

Working toward equal distribution of the vaccine was just the beginning. Corbett has spent the last two years encouraging everyone to get the COVID shot. 

French Gates told Corbett that her hard work and tenacious spirit makes her an inspiration for women of all ages. 

“You just don’t see as many girls in technology and in science. And certainly, you don’t see as many people of color. And I really feel like it’s hard to be what you can’t see. And so I think you’re a huge role model,” she said.  

“It is an honor to be inspirational, for sure,” Corbett said.