Monday 29 November 2021 10:48am
As the COVID-19 pandemic races towards a two-year milestone, Otago researchers are now better placed to understand its impact.
A network of experts from the Otago Global Health Institute have come together to provide perspectives from a range of disciplines on COVID-19, in a two-week COVID-19 Masterclass Series, in collaboration with Newsroom.
Through opinion pieces, Q&As and explainers, researchers have provided commentary on important issues related to the pandemic, including vaccination coverage and equity, mandates and ethics; advances in treatments and tests; and children and Covid-19.
The series, which began last week, is co-edited by Professor Philip Hill, co-director of the Otago Global Health Institute, and McAuley Professor of International Health in the Division of Health Sciences.
Associate Professor Patrick Vakaoti, co-director of the Otago Global Health Institute, and Associate Professor in Sociology in the School of Social Sciences, and Professor John Crump, McKinlay Professor of Otago Global Health in the Division of Health Sciences, are also co-editors.
“New Zealanders are tired and nervous, but also a little excited, we feel, to move to the next phase of our pandemic response as we reach very high vaccine coverage. We are passionate academic researchers – we are excited to see how each other view the pandemic from so many different perspectives.”
Professor Hill says, as the pandemic approaches a two-year milestone, it is vital that experts from multiple disciplines collaborate to help the public understand COVID-19 and inspire solutions.
“We hope this series will stimulate other experts to share their perspectives, to benefit us all.”
The series follows OGHI’s successful COVID-19 Masterclass Webinar Series which took place last year.
Professor Hill feels it is the right time for the institute to further contribute information and knowledge surrounding the pandemic.
He and the authors want to help people reflect on how things have gone, and what the future looks like, in relation to COVID-19, he says.
“New Zealanders are tired and nervous, but also a little excited, we feel, to move to the next phase of our pandemic response as we reach very high vaccine coverage.
“We are passionate academic researchers – we are excited to see how each other view the pandemic from so many different perspectives.”
Professor Hill says the series will show readers just how many ways the massive impact that the pandemic has had can be looked at.
He also hopes it will lead others to share their perspective.
“We almost feel like we are showing the tip of an iceberg of knowledge and perspectives,” he says.
“We bring to the table what we have, but we are sure there is so much more out there.”
While the institute’s annual conference has been postponed due to the pandemic this year, Professor Hill says they hope to run a face-to-face conference in the first half of 2022.