Barbie-maker Mattel Inc. has unveiled a doll of the scientist behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert.
Gilbert was the lead scientist in the development of the coronavirus vaccine at Oxford University, and her new doll is one of five female scientists honored by the toy maker for their contributions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The vaccine researcher said she first found the gesture “very strange” but hoped that it would inspire more girls to enter the STEM fields.
“I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of girls into STEM careers and hope that children who see my Barbie will realize how vital careers in science are to help the world around us,” Gilbert said in an interview for Mattel.
“My wish is that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist.”
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine against the coronavirus has been approved by over 120 countries and the company has so far supplied over 1 billion doses worldwide.
Barbie unveiled four other dolls of women who were at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic. They include Brazilian biomedical researcher Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, who led sequencing of the genome of a COVID-19 variant in Brazil.