The American Medical Association (AMA) honored Houston scientist and physician Peter J. Hotez, MD, with the Scientific Achievement Award for his work on promoting vaccines and combating vaccine misinformation.
“As a celebrated champion of vaccines, Dr. Hotez is a deserving recipient of this honor,” said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD. “His background in developing vaccines for tropical diseases that afflict the world’s poorest people proved invaluable as he turned his attention to COVID-19.”
His resume for this task is ideal: internationally recognized physician-scientist; professor of pediatrics and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of
Medicine in Houston; co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.
Dr. Hotez’s lab, which develops vaccines not financially viable for pharmaceutical companies (for hookworm, for example), has been studying the coronavirus for a decade. This scientific work laid the groundwork for the current new coronavirus vaccines and made possible their seemingly rapid development. His lab now has developed a COVID-19 vaccine to supply cheaply to poor countries to help ensure worldwide vaccination.
Dr. Hotez’s personal life also gives him a unique platform as a vaccine champion against the movement to tie vaccines to autism: He has an adult daughter with autism.
“In addition to hundreds of scientific papers, Dr. Hotez frequently writes for lay audiences and has been an extremely visible and straightforward presence on television, bringing science to the vaccine discussion,” Dr. Harmon said. “His affable manner and willingness to speak out for vaccines have made him a man for our times.”
The AMA presented the Scientific Achievement Award to Dr. Hotez during the 2022 Texas Medical Association Winter Conference.