Four employees in an office looking at the camera, smiling

From left to right, Dr. Howard Ovens, Dr. Andrew Morris, Dr. Jennie Johnstone and Dr. Tony Mazzulli. 

From variants to the marvels of new vaccines, there’s a constant flow of new information related to COVID-19. This week, to help employees, physicians and learners make sense of it all, Sinai Health hosted an online panel discussion with experts in their fields.

On the panel were Dr. Jennie Johnstone, Physician Lead for Infection Prevention and Control; Dr. Andrew Morris, Director of Sinai Health and University Health Network’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Program; and Dr Tony Mazzulli, Microbiologist-in-Chief. Moderating the discussion was Dr. Howard Ovens, Chief Medical Strategy Officer.

The session was shaped around questions submitted by Sinai Health people. Vaccines were top of mind for many.

“We hope after today’s session, any hesitation that you might feel about rolling up your sleeve for the vaccine will be addressed and you’ll avail yourselves of these medical miracles when they’re available to you,” Dr. Ovens said as he introduced the session.

One question addressed the benefits of getting the vaccine, even for young and otherwise healthy people.

Dr. Morris noted that while the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 is much lower in younger adults, there remain risks such as the possibility of symptoms that last for weeks or months. “Illnesses from infections can include things that don’t make you end up in the hospital. They don’t cause you to die, but they do make you quite miserable and they can make you miserable in ways that we don’t yet fully understand,” he said.

Other questions addressed the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, whether we can expect to see more variants of concern, reaching herd immunity and when we may be able to stop wearing masks in the hospital and the community.

Watch the panel discussion below: