International Pandemic InfectiousDisease Policy Expert

Dr. George Astrakianakis, PhD, MEng, BEng, is an international Occupational Health and Safety policy expert, Co–chair of Canada’s pandemic infectious disease policy plan: Prevention and Control of Influenza during a Pandemic for All Healthcare Settings, and former Director of Disease Prevention of the Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare and an Associate Professor at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia; with a PhD in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, and degrees in Chemical and Mechanical Engineering his experience includes: nearly 30 years of evaluating health hazards in the workplace with more than half of that time focused on healthcare; working as an Affiliated Investigator with the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and with Evaluation and Research for the Fraser Health Authority. He currently serves as a committee member on the Prevention and Control of Occupational Infections in Health Care Guideline Revision Working Group for the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Provincial Infection Control Network on their Guidelines Steering Committee.

Will a COVID-19 vaccine booster be necessary?

The short answer is most likely yes, a COVID-19 vaccine booster will eventually be necessary. There are two reasons that a booster shot may be required. The first is that our body’s immune response, which is primed either from previous infection or from vaccination, may wane over time. A booster may be required to amplify...
Herd immunity of most people of population protecting all against virus concept visualized with geometrical hexagon grid background 3D rendering

How do we reach herd immunity?

Herd immunity is population–level protection against the spread of an infectious disease that is based on pre–existing immunity of a high proportion of individuals in that population, either from prior infection or vaccination. The idea of herd immunity also acknowledges the need to protect a small proportion of our population who cannot be vaccinated for...
Three young active friends jogging together with protective face masks on.

A Clear Path Forward Must Exist for Those Who Can Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine and Those Who Cannot

In December 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two brands of the COVID-19 vaccine, produced by Pfizer and Moderna, for emergency use authorization. A third vaccine, made by Johnson and Johnson, received the same authorization in February 2021. With this authorization, and the ensuing nationwide vaccine rollout, millions of individuals across the nation...
Masking, Washing and Distancing are still critical while vaccines roll out

Masking, Washing and Distancing are Still Critical While Vaccines Roll Out

The CDC’s emergency use authorization of two COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020 marked a turning point in the pandemic. But that does not mean individuals should stop taking steps to prevent the spread of the virus. The CDC and other health officials recommend that all people, including individuals who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, continue...
Covid-19 Coronavirus Vaccine vials in a row macro close up

COVID-19 Vaccines: Important Considerations

The WHO declared the spread of the SARS coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV2) a public health emergency of global concern on January 30th, 2020. Since that time, the world has registered nearly than 57 million infections, with deaths surpassing 1.3 million[1]. Since this respiratory virus spreads from person to person through close contact, and without a vaccine or...
Contact Tracing

The Elements of Successful Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is a public health strategy that, with active collaboration, produces positive results relative to infection control and spread. But the public’s preconceived notions about contact tracing are less positive. Fear of oversight and overreach, misunderstanding, apathy and pandemic fatigue are some of the feelings that many associate with it. This makes a deliberate...
Underlying Health Conditions and Infection Prevention Measures

Underlying Health Conditions and Infection Prevention Measures.

Background On March 11, 2020, WHO declared the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2  (SARS-CoV-2) which causes the illness COVID-19, a pandemic. As of June 9, 2020, over 408,000 lives have been lost to the virus and over 112,000 were US deaths. Currently, there are over 1.9 million confirmed US cases.1 It is estimated that...
Quarantine and Isolation

Quarantine and Isolation

On March 11, 2020 the WHO declared the rapid transmission of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, a pandemic. After initial serious outbreaks on the east (New York City) and the west (Seattle) coasts, the virus has since spread throughout the United States (US). Currently the country leads the world in infections diagnosed, 2,504,175, and deaths, 125,484 with daily infections now exceeding 40,000 cases.
Young Doctor

Infectious Disease Risk to Allied Health Students

Some of the most distinctive elements of campus culture include co-inhabited living spaces, packed classrooms, noisy dining halls and shared resources such as gyms, labs and equipment. Mundane campus activities begin to look different during the coronavirus pandemic and when considering the reopening of schools. Risk of exposure and transmission chains become larger when considering...

COVID-19: Risk to Student Interns

Students with internships are in a unique position because they are still engaged in distinctive elements of campus culture — including living in co-inhabited spaces, attending packed classrooms, and sharing resources such as gyms, labs and equipment — while also working in a professional setting. A distinctive element of student internships is working off campus,...
Nursing Student

COVID-19: Risk to Nursing Students

Nursing students participate in a number of activities that may increase risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus and transmission rates. Many of these risks are shared with teacher education students and student interns, however, nursing students also possess a set hazards that are particular to their course of study. Some of these differences include...

History and Background of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Overview Coronaviruses are a broad family of viruses that cause upper respiratory tract infections.1 This family of viruses includes SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and our current pandemic coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, among others. COVID-19 is the illness that SARS-CoV-2 causes. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the novel coronavirus had reached the level of pandemic. WHO defines a...
Campus Risk

Novel Coronavirus and Higher Education: 10 Recommendations for Beginning a Risk Assessment

The novel coronavirus pandemic has disrupted process and routine for institutes of higher education (IHE). Courses have migrated online and schools are eager to know how they can preserve the health and safety of students, faculty and their wider communities. Without a vaccine or effective treatment, welcoming students back to campus poses public health risks....
Education Student

COVID-19: Risk to Teacher Education Students

Students majoring in education engage in a series of distinctive teacher-education requirements that may increase risk of infectious disease exposure and transmission. Some of the differences between general education and teacher education activities include working in simulated learning environments, attending student teaching internships and coming into contact with students and faculty in a public-school setting....

Work smart. Work safe. Work well.

View the most recent IDAC COVID-19 poster series for the workplace.
Hand washing COVID-19

Washing your hands often is smart. Washing them correctly is even smarter.

One of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your co-workers is to wash your hands correctly.