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It's vital for Canada's officials to listen to public's COVID-19 vaccine concerns, experts says

Last Updated Dec 8, 2020 at 9:35 am PDT

In this May 25, 2020, file photo, a lab technician extracts a portion of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate during testing at the Chula Vaccine Research Center, run by Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Sakchai Lalit

An infectious diseases expert says it's important to listen to the public's concerns around COVID-19 vaccines

Dr. Isaac Bogoch says it doesn't appear any corners have been cut in the COVID-19 vaccine approval process

Expert says officials have responsibility to update people with information on COVID-19 vaccines as it comes in

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Not everyone is clamouring to get the COVID-19 vaccine, with recent polls suggesting a significant portion of the population feels nervous about how quickly they’re being created and approved.

As Health Canada appears close to approving a vaccine for use in this country, an infectious disease expert says it’s not a bad thing to ask questions.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch with the University of Toronto says it’s certainly understandable people have concerns. However, he tells Breakfast Television Toronto that it appears no corners have been cut during the process, which has included three full phases of human trials and independent evaluations.

“But even with that, even with that, I think it’s reasonable to expect for people to have questions and I think it’s important for the medical, the public health, the scientific community to listen, to take those seriously, to address those,” he said Tuesday.

Bogoch is among 10 people recently named as part of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force. The group is expected to provide advice and recommendations around Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout program.

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The infectious diseases specialist says there is a responsibility to update people with information on the vaccines as soon as it comes in, saying it’s vital to openly communicate both what is known and what is unknown about vaccine efforts.

“We have a responsibility to update people with information as it comes in in real time. So it’s a huge responsibility on behalf of the medical, public health, scientific communities, and I think we’re taking this very seriously, because we really need as many people as possible to get this vaccine,” he added.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that Canada had secured a deal with Pfizer that would see up to 249,000 vaccine doses arrive in the country by the end of the year.

Health Canada will need to approve the vaccine for use here before rollout can begin.

The prime minister has said that if approval comes this week, immunization efforts could begin as early as next week — when the first shipments could arrive.