Employees to share their mental health journeys on Bell Let’s Talk Day
Eight years ago, Charlene Ropp, senior administrative assistant in stem cells, took an active role in her mental health when she found the courage to ask for help. Now, she strongly believes in sharing her journey so others may feel less alone. Charlene is one of several employees participating in a panel discussion as part of Bell Let’s Talk Day next Wednesday, Jan. 26, from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. ET. Facilitated by Dr. Yasmin Razack, chief diversity officer, panelists will be sharing their personal and professional experiences with mental health and mental illness. Read more about each of the panelists on Connect and keep an eye out for an Outlook event invitation, coming soon to your inbox. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. A recording will be made available following the event for those who can’t attend live.
N95 masks now available for on-site staff
As we monitor and evolve our COVID-19 safety measures, we are now providing N95 masks to employees who are required to work on-site. We have started to deploy these masks across the country; however, the use of these masks is voluntary. For those sites that have not received shipments of N95 masks, you are welcome to wear your own until ours arrive. Please be mindful of its quality and certification: it should be approved by Health Canada or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). N95 masks are not being distributed to donors but if a donor specifically asks for an N95 mask, employees are able to offer them one if supplies allow. If a donor enters a clinic with their own N95 mask or N95-like respirator, they can wear it and will no longer be asked to replace it nor to place a surgical mask over top of it. Read more about our N95 masks on Connect or visit the PPE page on the employee portal.
Question of the day: Why is a third dose or ‘booster’ of the COVID vaccine necessary? Is it likely that we’ll require a fourth dose — or ongoing boosters — in the future?
There are a few reasons why a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine might be necessary. The first is that the initial response to the first two doses may not have been strong enough. This is what the experts believe is happening with the elderly and immunocompromised populations and why these groups were offered a third dose of the vaccine early on as part of the primary vaccination series.
Another reason for administering a third dose would be to combat waning immunity and protection, which could happen over time and could be affected by “breakthrough” infections. In this instance, the additional shot is correctly referred to as a “booster” shot as it serves to increase the initial immunity achieved with the primary vaccination series. In many parts of Canada, we are seeing booster shots recommended for the general population (third doses for most, fourth doses for our older and immunocompromised folks).
It’s too soon to know whether we will need COVID-19 vaccines every year moving forward or even more often. While this isn’t an uncommon thing (think of flu shots), much additional research is needed to determine if this will be necessary. The decision will be influenced by how long immunity appears to be lasting, the efficacy of the current vaccines against the current COVID-19 variants and how much the virus is circulating and evolving.
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