We Heart: The Women Who Gave Us the COVID Vaccine

As the COVID-19 Delta variant spreads across the country and schools begin to reopen, health and safety are at the forefront of many of our minds. Luckily, the U.S. now has more tools to use in our fight against the coronavirus, and we have women to thank. Throughout the pandemic, women scientists, researchers and medical professionals have been at the forefront of the rapid development of the COVID vaccines.

Thanks to their tireless work, over half of Americans are fully vaccinated and thus protected from the virus, which provides some hope that the U.S. will continue recovering from the worst of the pandemic.

From RNA research to clinical trials, these 10 brilliant women have been crucial to the distribution of the COVID vaccine.

Kathrin Jansen

COVID Vaccine

Jansen led the effort at Pfizer that produced the first vaccine approved for emergency use.

Kizzmekia Corbett

COVID Vaccine

Corbett is an immunologist at the U.S. National Institutes of Health who helped design the Moderna vaccine.

Katalin Karikó

COVID Vaccine
(Csilla Cseke / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock)

Karikó’s decades of scientific research into RNA made the mRNA-based vaccines possible.

Elena Smolyarchuk

COVID Vaccine
(YURI KOCHETKOV / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock)

Smolyarchuk is the chief researcher of the first completed clinical trials for the vaccine Sputnik V.

Nita Patel

COVID Vaccine

Patel (left) and her all-women team of scientists in Maryland led development of the vaccine for Novavax.

Sumathy K

COVID Vaccine

Sumathy K is the head of R&D for Covaxin developer Bharat Biotech.

Lisa Jackson

COVID Vaccine
(AP Photo / Ted S. Warren)

Dr. Jackson was the principal investigator of the world’s first clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine (for Moderna), which began in March 2020.

Hanneke Schuitemaker

COVID Vaccine

Schuitemaker is the global head of viral vaccine discovery for Janssen Pharmaceuticals (owned by Johnson & Johnson).

Dr. Özlem Türeci

COVID Vaccine

Dr. Türeci is the cofounder of BioNTech, Pfizer’s vaccine partner.

Sarah Gilbert

COVID Vaccine
(John Lawrence/Shutterstock)

GIlbert is the architect of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

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