Vaccine Scientist Peter Hotez Will Give Virtual Talk

Dr. Peter Hotez.

Photo: Agapito Sanchez, Baylor College of Medicine

Published May 20, 2022

story by ellen goldbaum

The University at Buffalo is sponsoring a virtual talk on “The COVID-19 Vaccines: Science vs. Anti-science” by prominent vaccine scientist, self-described science explainer and “misinformation antagonist” Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD.

The talk will take place June 9 at noon.

Free and open to the public, the Grand Rounds talk is sponsored by the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB through its Medical Education and Educational Research Institute, in collaboration with the Division of Behavioral Medicine in the Department of Medicine.

As U.S. deaths from COVID-19 reach the grim milestone of 1 million, and with global deaths estimated to exceed 6 million, Hotez’s talk will focus on the factors that led to a tragedy of this scale

He will discuss:

  • How COVID-19 has impacted the unvaccinated populations of both the U.S. and the world.
  • How global failures or weaknesses led to low vaccination rates in low- and middle-income countries, especially in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa.
  • His role in developing the Texas Children’s Hospital recombinant protein vaccine, now in use in India.
  • The origins of, and recent shifts in, anti-vaccine sentiments and how to counter them.

Hotez is dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology. He is the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics and co-director of Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development.

“The Jacobs School is especially pleased to be hosting Dr. Hotez, who has dedicated himself to improving the health of the most vulnerable and to promoting science-based decision-making for the public,” said Allison Brashear, MD, vice president for health sciences at UB and dean of the Jacobs School.

“In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, issues surrounding scientific literacy have become increasingly critical; for example, resulting in our Medical Education and Educational Research Institute designing and implementing new curriculum to strengthen the scientific literacy skills of our students and residents to better prepare them to critically appraise, explain and apply findings from research to patient care.”

Hotez and his colleague Maria Elena Bottazzi have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year for “their work to develop and distribute a low-cost COVID-19 vaccine to the people of the world without patent limitation.”

Hotez co-leads teams focused on developing new vaccines that aren’t deemed financially viable for pharmaceutical companies, and that are for conditions/diseases that primarily sicken the poor. They are currently working on vaccines against hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and SARS/MERS/SARS-2 coronavirus — diseases that affect hundreds of millions of children and adults worldwide.

A recipient this year of the American Medical Association’s Scientific Achievement Award, Hotez has authored more than 600 scientific publications and five books written primarily for lay audiences.

As the father of an adult daughter with autism and author of the book “Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician and Autism Dad,” Hotez is a passionate champion for the benefits of vaccination and a national leader in the fight against the growing anti-vaccination movement.

In 2021, he was recognized with scientific leadership awards from the Association of American Medical Colleges and the AMA, in addition to receiving the Anti-Defamation League’s Popkin Award for combating anti-Semitism.