How Covid vaccine developer Dr. 'Kizzy' Corbett convinced a hesitant family to get their shots
via MSNBC / YouTube

America is on the threshold of having 50% of adults fully vaccinated from COVID-19. However, the number of daily doses administered is down about 48% from a peak rate of nearly 3.4 million per day in mid-April.

A big reason for this is vaccine hesitancy. Around 30% of Americans are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which presents a sizable roadblock to reaching herd immunity. Estimates differ, but it's thought after approximately 85% of the country has had the vaccine, the country will be on track for herd immunity.

It's important for the health of all Americans to try to help the hesitant to understand the facts: vaccines are safe and do a great job at preventing COVID-19 infections.

Who better to try to change people's minds about the vaccine than one of its developers, Dr. Kizzmekia "Kizzy" Corbett?

Dr. Corbett is an immunologist at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and a scientific lead for the Coronavirus Vaccines and Immunopathogenesis team that co-developed a highly effective COVID-19 vaccine based on mRNA technology with Moderna.

Last week, Matthew Mallory, an attendee at the "Vaccinating America" town hall at Northern Virginia Community College featuring President Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci, admitted he was hesitant about getting the shot.

"How do you know it's safe and who to trust?" he asked the panel.

"Does it give you confidence that Dr. Fauci, who has been working in this area his entire life was one of the very first people to take the vaccine, the Moderna vaccine?" MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell asked Mallory.

"In a way it does, I just still have hesitancies," he replied.

So the panel asked Dr. Corbett to step in and help out.

"I get it. I completely understand," she told Mallory. "I've realized that through this moment I sit in a place of privilege where I have information on a day-to-day basis about these vaccines that the general person does not. But the one thing that reassures me constantly is seeing over time, more and more people getting these vaccines. The data are so clear and crisp and that they are effective."

Dr. Corbett met with Mallory and his mother after the event and they talked for over 10 minutes. However, even after meeting with one of the creators of the vaccine, he still wasn't convinced.

Mallory and his mother went home and had a heart-to-heart about getting vaccinated and decided to get their first shots yesterday at Walgreens.

Dr. Corbett proudly met the two at the drug store and comforted them while they got their shots.

Dr. Corbett Convinces MSNBC Town Hall Participant To Get Covid Vaccine

If we can cut the number of people with vaccine hesitancy by half over the coming months, it gives us a much better chance of reaching herd immunity. If not, the virus will linger in pockets of the country where hesitancy is highest, taking thousands of lives along the way.

A big part of helping people change their minds is understanding there is a lot of misinformation muddying the waters, so it makes sense that some are uncomfortable getting the shot.

Dr. Corbett displayed a great example of how to counter the misinformation by taking the time to listen to Mallory without judgement and to give him the tools necessary to make an informed decision. She's a great example of how we can reach herd immunity by empowering people instead of shaming them.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.

Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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