Rumours fuel fear of vaccines

Paul Ritvo, a professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science and a scientist with a Canadian vaccine network, was interviewed on CBC’s “The National” April 21 about a growing reluctance by some parents to vaccinate their children against such childhood diseases as mumps, measles and rubella. Even though studies show no links between vaccinations and autism, “once you have a problem, once you have a rumour that takes hold even though it might be highly irrational, and people refuse vaccination, you have a problem because you have to start transforming that situation,” said Ritvo.

Pepsi prescribes laughter

Pepsi-Cola Canada Ltd. is placing comedians at busy locations in downtown Toronto today “to help cheer this city up with a refreshing bout of good old-fashioned joking around after a lengthy period of bad news,” reported The Globe and Mail April 22. Alan Middleton, Marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, said the campaign will probably be well received. “We need some light relief,” he said.

Arabs understand Iraq reconstruction will take time

Arab leaders have urged the Americans to withdraw from Iraq and have condemned the recent US criticisms of Syria. “I think this a reasonable announcement on the part of Arab states,” Saeed Rahnema, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, told CBC News April 19. “But I believe that they understand very well that to re-establish law and order and to rebuild the damaged infrastructure…it’s going to take some time…. They understand themselves [that] America will have to do a lot of work before it withdraws.”

On air

  • Michaela Hynie, psychology professor with York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies and specialist in intimacy issues, discussed fears and the effect of lowered human social contact – no touching or hugging – on people worried about SARS, on CBC’s national “Newsworld Today”; CBC’s “Metro Morning,” Toronto; “Breakfast@ the New Ro” (CHRO-TV), Nepean; and “News” (CFBC-AM) Saint John April 21.
  • CBC Radio is sponsoring an African music festival at York University, reported Avril Benoit on CBC’s “Here and Now” Toronto April 21.