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Women in STEM Speaker Series: Now What? The Complexity of COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution

Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 | 5 p.m. - 6 p.m.

  • Zoom

On Dec. 11, 2020, The US Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization to Pfizer for the first COVID-19 vaccine, followed by another EUA approval on Dec. 18 to Moderna for a second vaccine. The long-awaited vaccine is here, but life has not returned to normal. Why is it taking so long for people to get vaccinated?

In this webinar, Lola Williams, program manager for the U.S. Army Medical Material Development Activity, will examine the complexity of manufacturing and disseminating an FDA-authorized vaccine from “shelf to shots,” including allocation, logistics and distribution. In addition, she will discuss how vaccine hesitancy and mistrust complicate the distribution process and how lessons from the COVID-19 Therapeutic Convalescent Plasma can help.

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Lola Williams
Program manager, U.S. Army Medical Material Development Activity

Tamara Pearson, Ph.D., C'96
Director, Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM

About Lola Williams

Lola Williams Lola A. Williams is a program manager for the U.S. Army Medical Material Development Activity, the Department of Defense's medical product development activity for products designed to protect and preserve the lives of the Warfighter. As the program manager, Williams guides the development of medical products for the U.S. Army Medical Department, other U.S. Services, the Joint Staff, the Defense Health Agency and U.S. Special Forces community. The process takes promising technology from the DoD, industry and academia to U.S. Forces, from the testing required for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval or licensing to fielding and sustainment of the finished product.

For the last nine months, Williams has been on a special detailed assignment utilizing her to provide support to Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government's rapid response to provide vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Focused more on the therapeutic side, Williams supported the team that issued one of the first therapies to combat COVID, COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma, assisted with efforts to launch a national education campaign on COVID-19 therapies, and assisted in establishing manufacturing capabilities and the distribution of therapies throughout the United States. In addition. Williams has coordinated with various teams within Operation Warp Speed to develop education materials on how these products work and are beneficial in the fight against COVID-19.

A native of Silver Spring, Maryland, Williams graduated from Trinity University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and she received a master’s degree in biotechnology and MBA from The Johns Hopkins University.

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