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epidemiology – deonandia

CATEGORY / epidemiology

COVID-19: Is a 2-Dose Vaccine Mandate Justified in 2023?

by Raywat Deonandan, PhD
Epidemiologist & Associate Professor
University of Ottawa
(I add my credentials to these COVID-19 blog posts in case they get shared. I want readers to know that my opinion is supposedly an educated and informed one)

A common question I am asked is, “Are COVID-19 vaccine mandates still justified in 2023?”

There is a lot to unpack in that question.  First, were COVID vaccine mandates ever justified? That depends on your institution’s values. But strictly from an epidemiological perspective –and not a rights perspective– I believe that workplace mandates were largely justified in the pre-Omicron era, so long as accommodations were made for those unable/unwilling to comply (like mandatory testing).

Second, what would make mandates justified, again strictly from an epidemiological lens? Well, in most cases, the mandates were meant to accomplish two goals and possibly a third: (a) to slow transmission of the disease, (b) to get us closer to herd immunity, and (c) to keep people out of the hospital and morgue. (more…)

Kooks Who Write Books

On April 1st of this year, my physician spouse and I took our toddler to the local public library for the first time in his life. It was very exciting. I was so energized to be there with my son that, in a fit of fatherly intensity, I decided to check out the parenting section.

There, proudly displayed at the top of the heap was a book called “Conscious Parenting: A Holistic Guide to Raising and Nourishing Healthy, Happy Children.” Who doesn’t want their child to be healthy and happy, I thought. So I took a peruse. (more…)

The Weaponization of Debate

Ten years ago, while still a relatively fresh academic, I was invited onto the Joe Rogan podcast to debate Peter Duesberg, a biologist who was infamously claiming that the HIV virus is not the cause of AIDS. I declined the invitation for several reasons, not least of which was that I was not comfortable granting credibility to a fringe and dangerous theory.  (more…)

What Is This Thing Called ‘Evidence’

Back in 2013, I received a humbling email. I was being invited to be a guest on “The Joe Rogan Experience”. Unlike other guests who are brought on for a free-wheeling three hour conversation, however, I was being invited to engage in a specific task: to debate a man named Dr. Peter Duesberg, who was famous for refusing to accept the causal link between infection with the HIV virus and contracting the disease AIDS.

At the time, I was a fan of Rogan’s show. I appreciated his open format, his conversation style, his selection of guests, his open-mindedness, and his intellectual humility. I was also a fan of Rogan the comedian, martial arts commentator, the marijuana liberalization activist, and Rogan the navigator of various self-development strategies about which I would otherwise not know.

Fast forward 10 years and Rogan is now a media behemoth, his podcast attracting more listeners and viewers than does CNN. In the era of COVID, the show seems to have embraced and championed some troubling anti-science positions, has platformed some truly rancid characters, seems to revel in amplifying some tiresome talking points from a particular political ideology, and Rogan himself has made some public statements that make me uncomfortable. (more…)

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