U of G Expert Discusses Trust in Public Health Officials

Prof. Maya Goldenberg

Prof. Maya Goldenberg

With most Canadian health experts expecting a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic this winter, will Canadians continue to trust the advice of public health experts? Has confusion over back-to-school plans eroded some of that trust in recent weeks?

Prof. Maya Goldenberg, Department of Philosophy, specializes in the philosophy of science and medicine. Recently, she has focused on why some people refuse vaccines or become wary of science.

To maintain Canadians’ trust in federal and local public health leaders, Goldenberg said, officials need to communicate clearly with consistent and straightforward messages.

Without public trust, initiatives like quarantine orders and vaccine recommendations will simply not work.

“Think about in a couple of years, when they’re trying to convince people to get a COVID vaccine. If (distrust) becomes the takeaway message, then public health is in trouble,” she told the Toronto Star.

Goldenberg told the Toronto Star she believes some public health officers are beginning to cross a line between providing medical expertise and serving government ministries.

“The governments are supposed to respond to the science, the scientists,” she said. “The worry here is whether public health officials are overreaching in some of the endorsements they’re giving.”

Goldenberg also spoke with 660News and News Talk 770 in Calgary, GuelphToday.com, KitchenerToday.com, and University Affairs.

She also appeared on CBC’s The National.

Goldenberg’s  book Vaccine Hesitancy: Public Trust, Expertise, and the War on Science will be released in spring, 2021. She is available for interviews.


Prof. Maya Goldenberg