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How public health units can gain public trust; U of G professor

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Maya Goldenberg says there are concerns growing around back-to-school plans and a potential COVID-19 vaccine
Photo of Associate Professor of Philosophy, Maya Goldenberg/University of Guelph

For the past several months all eyes and ears have been focused on public health units across the country.

One University of Guelph Professor says the COVID-19 pandemic has led to some distrust in those units.

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Maya Goldenberg tells 570 NEWS parents are especially nervous when it comes to sending kids back to school, in an environment that is not consistent with public health guidelines.

"The opening up of schools is the biggest opening up that we have done since the lockdown started, it's our biggest public health experiment to date and there are a lot of people involved and because it involves our children, a lot of people are very concerned about it."

She says some public health units, especially in British Columbia and Alberta have been endorsing back-to-school plans that do not follow their own recommendations.

Region of Waterloo Public Health officials say as students head back to class, we will see an increase in COVID-19 cases, and they would consider shutting down schools if there is a sense they can't get outbreaks under control. 

Our acting medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang will join The Mike Farwell Show at 9 o'clock on Thursday morning to discuss back-to-school.

If you have a question for Dr. Wang, email us at

Goldenberg adds when it comes to rolling out an eventual COVID-19 vaccine, public health units must be transparent and open about how the vaccines are developed and they will be the ones responsible for making the vaccine compelling and convincing to the public.

"The public for example is very concerned about financial conflicts of interest around vaccine research so that actually should be confronted instead of being ignored as a fringe issue, or being framed as a conspiracy issue, because it is a legitimate concern of the public." 

Canada's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam said earlier this week that Canadians will need to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated in large numbers to finally corral COVID-19 before life can return to a semblance of its pre-pandemic state.

This comes as the Trudeau government announced the latest instalment in its plan to pre-buy tens of millions of doses of potential vaccines, signing deals with two American firms.

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