Beware compulsory vaccinations

Canadians are in greater need of immunity from undue government intrusion than they are from any disease

Beware compulsory vaccinationsNew Brunswick’s attempt to remove vaccine exemptions has sparked a political, ethical and constitutional controversy. The benefits of the legislation were marginal at best, but the heavy-handed tactics used to try to implement it were even worse. Citizens beware. “Stop the hysteria over measles outbreaks,” wrote infectious-diseases specialist Neil Rau and former Ontario chief medical…

Multiple factors will influence pricing for COVID-19 vaccine in Canada

Need to supply enough for herd immunity may push down the price per dose, according to U of A expert

Multiple factors will influence pricing for COVID-19 vaccine in CanadaConventional drug costing models are unlikely to apply when it comes to putting a price tag on a vaccine against COVID-19 for Canadians, according to health economist Christopher McCabe. McCabe is with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, and also heads Alberta’s Institute of Health Economics. “When you have an infection that…

Federal government undermines COVID-19 vaccine development

Canada’s amended Patent Act weakens protections for intellectual property in the life sciences just when rights are vital for mobilizing a rapid response

Federal government undermines COVID-19 vaccine developmentFirst, the good news: Symvivo Corp., a Canadian company, has a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate in phase one trials. The bad news is that the federal government is dismantling the incentives to find a vaccine. In the battle against the global pandemic, public- and private-sector actors both have essential roles to play. Governments are collecting data,…

Eight things you need to know about the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine

Experts share their knowledge, hopes and fears about the chances of finding a way to inoculate the world against the deadly virus

Eight things you need to know about the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccineWith more than 100 teams around the world racing to find a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, what are the chances of getting something that works? The World Health Organization’s list shows 21 vaccine projects in either phase one or two of clinical trials, and two projects, one in China and the other in the U.K., in phase…

Why we need to learn to live with COVID-19

With a vaccine likely years away and other viral threats emerging every year, shoring up health care for vulnerable groups is critical, say experts

Why we need to learn to live with COVID-19Measles infected people for 1,500 years, killing more than one million people annually during the 20th century alone, before John Enders and Thomas Peebles isolated the virus in 1954 and developed a vaccine nine years later. Four decades onward again, the disease was finally eliminated in North America. But for every disease caused by a…

Four strategies to help avoid the next pandemic

U of A virus expert offers recommendations that would be easier to implement and enforce than other public health measures

Four strategies to help avoid the next pandemicNew viruses emerge every few years that threaten humanity: HIV, swine flu, SARS, Ebola, Zika, MERS and now COVID-19. Unfortunately, the only drugs that can combat a viral pandemic are antiviral therapies – although most antivirals don’t work very well – or vaccines, most of which work incredibly well. Vaccines for newly emerging viral diseases…

We need to make it easier for parents to vaccinate their children

No child should die a preventable death. It's time Canada had a national vaccine framework

We need to make it easier for parents to vaccinate their childrenBy Sen. Raymonde Gagné and Sen. Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia “As an infectious disease specialist, there is nothing sadder than standing at the bedside of a parent in an ICU with a child who’s got a vaccine preventable disease who is dying.” That’s what Dr. Noni MacDonald, professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie University, told us at a…

Why I continue to get the flu vaccine for myself and my children

The vaccine doesn’t fully protect from the flu – it's one of many strategies, like frequent hand washing, adequate rest and a balanced diet

Why I continue to get the flu vaccine for myself and my childrenIt’s time again for the familiar “Get the shot, not the flu” campaign. It comes every year around this time and we're frequently reminded that it isn’t too late to get the flu vaccine if you haven’t taken advantage of the free campaign. The flu vaccine is recommended by several Canadian public health agencies, such…

Getting a grip on the risks of vaccination

In the case of MMR vaccination, doing nothing is the more dangerous choice

Getting a grip on the risks of vaccinationEvery day when I see patients in my surgical clinic, some are offered a procedure to help them feel better. Whether it is a minor surgery like a tonsillectomy, or something larger scale such as tumour resection, I have a full discussion with the patient regarding the benefits and risks of doing “something.” Each time…

Anti HPV vaccine article troubling and disappointing

The risks associated with HPV infection much greater than the risks associated with vaccination

Anti HPV vaccine article troubling and disappointingBy Juliet Guichon University of Calgary and Dr. Rupert Kaul University of Toronto The HPV (Human papilloma virus) vaccine was created to prevent an infection that causes cancer. That is pretty exciting. Given the power of HPV vaccine to prevent disease and death, a recent article in the Toronto Star, which appears to suggest that…