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Dr. Peter Hotez, Opal Lee among Texans nominated for 2022 Nobel Peace Prize

 Opal Lee, 93, opens her front door and warmly greets her new visitor.
Alejandra Martinez
Opal Lee, 93, opens her front door and warmly greets her new visitor.

Several Texans have been nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, including top vaccine expert Dr. Peter Hotez.

Houston Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher nominated Hotez and Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, who both co-direct the Texas Children's Center for Vaccine Development.

Fletcher, a Democrat, said in a pressrelease that she nominated the pair because of their work to “develop and distribute a low-cost COVID-19 vaccine to people of the world without patent limitation.” TheirCORBEVAX vaccine has been authorized in India.

Both Botazzi and Hotez have expressed gratitude for the nomination. In a statement, Hotez said he was honored.

“Dr. Bottazzi and I have worked together for years, and our purpose has never changed – to bring attention to the neglected diseases of poverty and build a new generation of vaccine in the pursuit of global vaccine diplomacy,” he added.

Fort Worth activist Opal Lee was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, and 32 other members of Congresssigned a letter nominating the 95-year-old who’s known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth.”

Through Lee’s efforts, Juneteenth — which is celebrated on June 19 — is now a national holiday after PresidentBiden signed a bill into law last year. Lee was alsopresent at the bill signing ceremony.

“Ms. Lee has worked tirelessly for several decades to bring recognition to the date the last recognized enslaved people in Texas were freed, June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the [Emancipation] proclamation was signed,” the letter read.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, were among the 12 Texans who signed the nomination letter for Opal Lee. Both led the bipartisan effort in Congress to make Juneteenth a federal holiday as well assimilar legislative initiatives in the U.S. House and Senate.

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Sascha Cordner | The Texas Newsroom