Saanich resident and University of British Columbia student Emilie Wang is working with the UBC vaccine literacy club to address vaccine hesitancy. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich resident and University of British Columbia student Emilie Wang is working with the UBC vaccine literacy club to address vaccine hesitancy. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich-based UBC student gathers immunity experts to talk COVID-19 vaccines

An online panel discussion Sept. 18 will allow public to ask anonymous questions

A Saanich resident and university student is working with the University of British Columbia to bring the expertise of Canadian COVID experts directly to vaccine-hesitant residents of Greater Victoria and the province.

Through her role in UBC’s vaccine literacy club, Emilie Wang, a second-year environmental science and preventative medicine student, has assembled researchers from the Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network for a panel webinar entitled Vaccines 101: The Role of Vaccines in the COVID-19 Pandemic, at 1 p.m. this Saturday (Sept. 18).

“Attendees might find it valuable to understand the complexity and scope of vaccine hesitancy through this panel,” Wang said in a release.

“Attending this event and asking questions can better equip people to have these conversations, to approach individuals who may be hesitant, and to share this accurate information with friends and family.”

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The expert panelists include Jen Gommerman, who has expertise in adaptive immunity, the body’s response to COVID-19 and holds a Canada Research Chair in tissue-specific immunity. She’ll be joined by Kimberly Huyser of UBC and the Navajo Nation, an expert on determinants of health problems faced by Indigenous peoples; Anne-Claude Gingras, an expert on cell proteins and how they interact when a new vaccine is introduced to the body; and Nazeem Muhajarine of the University of Saskatchewan, a leader in the study of public health and herd immunity.

READ ALSO: Victoria doctors tackle vaccine misinformation through social media

The panelists will help viewers answer such questions as, “When will the pandemic end? Why are people still vaccine-hesitant? How can we overcome hesitancy? Will there be another pandemic, and how can we be prepared?” Wang said.

According to COVID-19 Tracker Canada, 76 per cent of those in the Island Health district have received at least one dose of vaccine, while only 70 per cent are fully vaccinated. Twenty-four per cent have yet to receive one dose.

Registration for the webinar can be accessed at bit.ly/vacc101. Questions can be posed anonymously to the panelists.


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