Capitol Conversations

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins on the COVID-19 vaccines

December 15, 2020

With the first COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer being delivered throughout the U.S., we wanted to bring you a discussion about the vaccines between Dr. Russell Moore and Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Collins is one of our nation’s key scientific leaders battling the pandemic. In this conversation, he shares insights about the development of the vaccines, misconceptions about them and what it will take to get our church life back to “normal.”

This discussion was hosted as an ERLC webinar on December 3, 2020.

This episode is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Searching for Christmas by JD Greear. Find out more about this book at

Guest Biography

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. was appointed the 16th Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate. He was sworn in on August 17, 2009. On June 6, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his selection of Dr. Collins to continue to serve as the NIH Director. In this role, Dr. Collins oversees the work of the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research.

Dr. Collins is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project, which culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. He served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH from 1993-2008.

Before coming to NIH, Dr. Collins was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Michigan. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007, and received the National Medal of Science in 2009. In 2020, he was elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (UK) and was also named the 50th winner of the Templeton Prize, which celebrates scientific and spiritual curiosity.

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