05 Jul 2022

Midlands Science invites Laois people to Forum with Covid-19 experts

Expert panel to explore viruses, vaccines & immunity

Midlands Science invites Laois people to Forum with Covid-19 experts

Prof Luke O'Neill

One of Ireland's best known experts on the Covid-19 pandemic Prof Luke O'Neill is set join a member of NPHET and a psychologist an event in the Midlands which all things related to viruses, vaccines and immunity including vaccine hesitancy.

Midlands Science says it is pleased to announce that the third event in its virtual Science Communities series. It says this interactive forum is free of charge and open to everyone.

The forum will feature a talk from Professor O’Neill of Trinity College Dublin. Midlands Science says he is now widely recognised as being one of the world’s most influential scientists. They say he is passionate about engaging people on scientific topics.

This forum will feature talks from NPHET member Professor Karina Butler (UCD) and Prof Jamie Murphy (Ulster University).

Prof O'Neill spoke ahead of the event.

"This has been a most alarming period for all of us, but the legacy of this pandemic will be that science delivered on its promise. There comes a great level of responsibility when informing the public of health information relating to Covid19 and it is so critically important to get the facts out and to get the right information across to people because everybody wants to know about it.

"Understandably, people have so many questions, even now after all this time. The bottom line though, is that science delivered highly effective, safe vaccines and vaccination truly is the only way out of this pandemic," he said.

Professor Luke O’Neill holds the Chair of Biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, is an author and expert on Immunology and has been a positive voice on how science will beat Covid 19 since March 2020. 

Professor Karina Butler, was a Consultant Paediatrician at Children’s Health Ireland specialising in Infectious Diseases for many years. She is a Clinical Professor of Paediatrics at UCD and was appointed to NPHET in late 2020, is a member of the COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group of HIQA and a member of the High-Level Task Force for COVID.

Professor Jamie Murphy is a Professor in Psychology and a member of the Psychology Research Institute at Ulster University.

Prof Butler will be discuss vaccines, immunisation and the national immunisation programme while Prof Murphy will be looking at vaccine hesitancy and the psychology behind this, with a specific focus on the Covid-19 vaccine. 

The CEO of Midlands Science is Jackie Gorman.

"Through these community forums, which explore science, evidence, health and medicine, we want to create an open conversation about how scientific evidence informs public health advice.

"We are delighted to host this particular topic given its relevance to the international pandemic and we will be encouraging conversation between members of the audience and our panel of experts who will look at viruses and vaccines, explaining what they are and how they work in our body. We will also be discussing vaccines, immunisation and the national immunisation programme along with vaccine hesitancy and the psychology behind this," she said.

The event takes place on Wednesday, October 20 from 10 am on Zoom. It is free and open to all. You do not need to have a scientific background or any interaction with science in your day to day life to take part.

This event will run for approximately 2.5/3 hours. Each speaker will have 10/15 minutes to speak, then there will be a short break. Participants will then be put into breakout rooms to discuss the topics and to give their opinions. The event will then end with a short Q&A session.

You do not need to have your video on for any part of the event, if you do not want to. We are looking for participants to contribute their opinions in the breakout rooms but if you are not comfortable doing so, that is no problem. Some of the event may be recorded (the three speakers and the Q&A session). This recording will be uploaded to our YouTube channel and shared across our social media platforms.

If you are interested in taking part in this project, please email for more information. For registration details, please check our website on meeting/register/ tZ0ocemsqz8sH9Xl7tWRdZdErI7PJk -eVadm

The Science Communities project is funded by Science Foundation Ireland through the Discover Award programme and is designed to build impactful dialogue  and discussion between community groups in the Midlands and those involved in science and public policy.


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