Skip to content
live

Community engagement has to start now for COVID-19 vaccine: uOttawa researcher

"Develop consultations and community engagement plans, and actually listen to the people," says Maxime Le. "Let the people ask questions and then answer them in a transparent and open manner."
2020-11-23 vaccine GL
FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 file photo, senior Clinical Research Nurse Ajithkumar Sukumaran prepares the COVID 19 vaccine to administer to a volunteer, at a clinic in London. The British government on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 says it may take part in a study that tries to deliberately infect volunteers who have been given an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus in an effort to more quickly determine if the vaccine works. The approach, called a challenge study, is risky but proponents think it may produce results faster than typical studies, which wait to see if volunteers who have been given an experimental treatment or a dummy version get sick. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

Now that Health Canada has approved its first round of COVID-19 vaccines, an Ottawa researcher is urging public health authorities to start addressing residents' fears surrounding the shot.

Maxime Le, a researcher at the University of Ottawa, wrote his thesis on anti-vaccination arguments in Canada, and has created a master list of anti-vaccination arguments.

"They question the security and side effects that potential vaccines can produce," he explains. "They also worry about the fact that it's so new, and it was 'rushed' and whatnot."

Le says now is the time to start combating those fears.

"Develop consultations and community engagement plans, and actually listen to the people. Let the people ask questions and then answer them in a transparent and open manner."

Le says there needs to be a communications plan that "responds to the fears and worries and anxieties that people have, because the COVID vaccine is coming. People have questions, but we're just not getting answers."

Historically, Le doesn't think public health leaders have done a good job of explaining the benefits of vaccines. It's not enough to simply tell people that vaccines are good, he adds, Canadians need to be reminded about how good they've got it.

"Historically, vaccines have been doing a pretty good job at keeping us safe. In some parts of the world -- in Afghanistan for example, they still have cases of polio."

Health Canada approved the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, Wednesday, December 9, the first to be given the green light for national use.




Comments


Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Digital Editor, CityNews Ottawa & the Valley
Read more
Rogers Sports & Media
2001 Thurston Drive Ottawa, ON, K1G 6C9
© 2006-2022 Rogers Sports & Media. All rights reserved.
push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks