By Richie Klares

The topic of vaccination is an important one, and finding reliable information on the subject can be difficult. Due to contradicting coverage in the media, conflicting information found online, and declining vaccination rates, two McGill undergraduate students have taken it upon themselves to help make credible information about vaccination accessible to the public. Liam Whalen-Browne and Olivia Ganescu are the founders of McGill Students for Vaccination Education and Awareness Week (MSVEAW), and November 22-24 will mark the first annual event for the group. The aim of this event, as Liam describes it, is “to create an open forum for people to seek clarifications about vaccines so they can make properly informed decisions.”

Liam Whalen-Browne and Olivia Ganescu

Both Liam and Olivia are U3 Honours Microbiology and Immunology students at McGill University, who share an interest in public health and vaccination in general. In Olivia’s eyes, her and Liam have been given an educational opportunity that all should be privy to. Olivia believes that “the education [Liam and I] receive in our four years makes us very privileged…we know how vaccines are made, how they work, and how they can be improved…and we want to provide others with this information too.”

Olivia praises her pediatrician for teaching her about vaccines at a young age. “I was given very clear information with no ‘fluff’, and that made understanding the subject much easier.” To present information to the public, Liam and Olivia have recruited several experts who have spent their careers in primary science laboratories studying the subject. By having experts provide information on vaccination in a direct and digestible format, Liam and Olivia hope to address any questions and concerns that people may have. “If someone has no background on the topic, then they will approach the internet and have to sift through to find the credible information…we have people who have dedicated their lives to studying the pros and cons of vaccines and vaccinology, and there is no better source of information than from those on the front lines to present the facts.”

The founders of MSVEAW have created this event with “anyone and everyone” in mind. From those who have questions about, or simply an interest in vaccination, to current and future parents who want to make an informed decision regarding the vaccination of their children, Liam and Olivia invite all to come and listen to the panel of experts they have assembled. The event will take place from November 22-24 from 6-7 p.m. each evening in the SSMU Ballroom (3rd floor, room 301). The SSMU building is located at 3600 Rue McTavish, Montreal, QC, H3A 0G3.

You can learn more at their Facebook Event here:


November 11, 2016