COVID 19 has completely disrupted communities around the globe and caused enormous loss as well as untold human suffering.
The development of effective vaccines has given us hope for the future, but the unprecedented speed at which these have been developed raised some questions.
The WHO recently has identified vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 public health issues facing global health.
To ensure a high uptake of vaccines globally, the community needs transparent, honest and factual advice from trusted members of the community.
There will always be a small minority of people, “Activists” who ignore the science and spread misinformation or worse, conspiracy theories. We mostly cannot reach those activists and should rather concern our efforts with those “hesitant” but undecided.
At the same time, we must also consider the logistical limitations of vaccine rollouts on a global scale.
These include factors such as lack of infrastructure, accessibility, and financial constraints, to name a few… but if COVID has taught us anything, it has taught us the need for a shared sense of action.
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Dr Vera Sistenich is an emergency medicine specialist in Australia, where her areas of interest include Aboriginal health, medical education and the development of physician training in the field of international emergency medicine. She gained her medical degree at the University of Oxford, and a masters of public health at Harvard University. Outside Australia, she has clinical experience in China, DRCongo, Nepal, Peru, South Africa, Vietnam and the UK. She has also worked with asylum seekers both at the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre in the Australian Indian Ocean territories, and on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. In 2013-2014, she was Health Policy Advisor to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland.
Nick Coatsworth is an outstanding communicator and one of Australia’s favourite doctors. Nick held a key national role in the Australian response to COVID-19 as Deputy Chief Medical Officer. Bringing together his skills as an infectious disease physician, a respiratory physician, a practitioner of disaster and humanitarian medicine, and high level experience in health administration, Nick became one of the most recognised medical spokespeople during the pandemic, engaging the Australian community through a variety of media platforms.
Khairil Musa is an Intensive Care Registrar from Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney. He is passionate about Trauma and Cardiac Intensive Care and also enjoys teaching and mentoring junior doctors.
Julie Leask is professor in the Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney. Her research focuses on behavioural science in public health, specifically vaccination uptake, programs and policy. Professor Leask has a number of advisory roles with the World Health Organization including as chair of the Behavioural and Social Drivers of Vaccination working group. She is member of the Regional Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative Expert Advisory Group for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Chief Executive of the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC), Carrie Marr has a passionate focus on quality improvement and patient safety. She has held a number of executive and consultancy roles within the National Health Service, Scotland. Before joining the CEC, Carrie worked at Western Sydney Local Health District as Executive Director Organisation Effectiveness. Carrie continues to proactively collaborate and learn with health colleagues from across the globe. These experiences inform her leadership of continuous improvement in the work of NSW Health to deliver exceptional, patient-centered care.