The COVID-19 vaccine confidence virtual townhall was back by popular demand last night. The second session featured a new crop of medical experts, and the addition of representatives from organizations serving South Asian Canadians.

The free online discussion was again opened by Anita Anand, the federal minister responsible for procurement of COVID-19 vaccines – a few hours after she participated in an announcement that Canada has enough vaccines to double-dose every Canadian ages 12+.

Medical experts answering live questions from attendees included:

  • Varun Kapila, vascular surgeon, William Osler Health System
  • Anju Anand, respirologist and sleep medicine physician, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, cofounder of “Thisisourshot” Canadian COVID-19 vaccination campaign
  • Amanpreet Brar, general surgery resident, University of Toronto; labour rights and linguistic adovcate during the pandemic
  • Sonia Anand, vascular physician; McMaster University; senior scientist at PHRI
  • Zain Chagla, infectious diseases physician, McMaster
  • Radhika Natgunarajah, interim president, Canadian Tamil Medical Association

South Asian community groups speak up

New to this vaccine virtual townhall was the inclusion of greater Toronto and Hamilton area community organizations who spoke candidly about the barriers facing their clients – South Asians of all ages and walks of life – when it comes to getting vaccinations, such as Samya Hasan, Executive Director, Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA).

The general takeaway was to “meet people where they are” – take into consideration all aspects of their lives when it comes to addressing vaccination confidence: health, mobility, transportation, type of work/sick leave, limited English language skills, access to internet, and other variables.

Missed the July 28th COVID-19 vaccine confidence townhall? No worries; you can watch it here.

You can also watch the recording of the June 17th COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Townhall, which also featured Drs. Menaka Pai and Raj Grewal, as well as Sonia Anand and Zain Chagla.

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