Event summary produced by The Globe and Mail Events team. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved. This article has been updated to reflect the latest developments from the COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall Series.
How do the new vaccines developed to fight COVID-19 work, and what can Canadians expect of the vaccination process? These pressing questions, and many more, served as the impetus for creating a series of virtual COVID-19 Vaccine Town Halls in a joint effort by The Globe and Mail and The Royal Society of Canada (RSC). The Globe and the RSC have been collaborating for a number of months on the Zero Canada Project, an initiative that seeks to inform the public about COVID-19 by sharing insights from The Globe and Mail newsroom as well as leading experts in science and health care, with the ultimate goal of bringing us closer to the first day that Canada can report zero new cases of the virus.
On March 23, The Globe and Mail and the RSC hosted the third town hall of the series, focused on the emergence of several COVID-19 variants and what this means for Canada’s vaccination process and efforts to end the pandemic. The Globe’s National Health Reporter Kelly Grant was joined in conversation by four leading experts in the fight against COVID-19: Dr. Charu Kaushic, Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and a professor in the department of medicine at McMaster University; Dr. Mel Krajden, Medical Director of the BC Centre for Disease Control’s Public Health Laboratory, and a professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of British Columbia; Professor Bartha Knoppers, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine, and is also the Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy at McGill University; and Dr. Lisa Richardson, the Strategic Advisor for Indigenous Health within the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto. Below you will find the full video playback of the webcast, in addition to the full playbacks of the first and second town hall events in this series.
For more information on COVID-19, you can take a look at The Globe’s latest coverage, as well as the RSC’s COVID-19 information hub. More than 300 Canadian experts from multiple disciplines have provided independent analysis of the pandemic in the form of policy briefings for the RSC, tackling key issues related to COVID-19 from a variety of perspectives.
The fourth virtual town hall event in this COVID-19 vaccine series will take place on Thursday, April 29 at 2:00 pm ET. The discussion will focus on the current and future status of the vaccination rollout process in Canada, taking stock of our progress and addressing challenges on the horizon. Space is limited – stay tuned to theglobeandmail.com/events for registration information in the coming weeks.
Recommended COVID-19 resources from our speakers:
- First Nations Health Authority (B.C.) infographic: The facts about COVID-19 vaccines
- Toronto Public Health, Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) infographic: What you need to know about getting the COVID-19 vaccine
- National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) website: Guidance on the prioritization of key populations for COVID-19 immunization
- Ontario Personal Support Workers Association: COVID-19 vaccines and PSWs webcast
Town Hall Webcast #3: Variants are here - now what?
Town Hall Webcast #2: What Do COVID-19 Vaccines Mean for Me?
On February 18, The Globe and the RSC co-hosted the second town hall of the series, focused on the question: “What do COVID-19 vaccines mean for me?” As vaccination rollout ramps up across the country, many Canadians have questions about who receives prioritization first and why; estimated timelines for receiving a vaccine; and how the process might look when it’s your turn. Leading this discussion for viewers was The Globe’s award-winning Health Reporter and Columnist André Picard, who was joined by four esteemed Canadian experts: Dr. Christine Chambers, who is the Killam Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience and Pediatrics at Dalhousie University; Dr. Danièle Behn Smith, Deputy Provincial Health Officer overseeing Indigenous health for B.C.’s provincial health officer (Dr. Bonnie Henry); Dr. Kwame McKenzie, CEO of the Wellesley Institute and a professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Toronto; and Dr. Sharon Straus, Physician-in-Chief at St. Michael’s Hospital and a professor in the department of medicine at the University of Toronto. The full playback of their discussion is included as an embedded video below.
Town Hall Webcast #1: How New Vaccines Protect Against COVID-19
The first vaccine town hall, broadcast on January 21, was hosted by Ivan Semeniuk, Science Reporter for The Globe and Mail, and featured three esteemed guests from the medical and science professions in Canada: Dr. Michael Houghton, director of the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute and a professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Alberta (he was also a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2020); Dr. Allison McGeer, a professor at the University of Toronto and an infectious disease physician for Sinai Health System; and Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology at the University of Montreal. The webcast playback below features the panel’s discussion of several important issues regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, including the efficacy of mRNA vaccinations (the basis of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines), the timing and variables involved in multi-dose vaccinations, and why vaccination is an important part of ending the COVID-19 pandemic.