Horizon microbiologist addresses concerns and highlights the importance of rolling up your sleeve

May 11, 2021

We are living through a time where information is being shared from multiple places, pandemic updates are changing daily, and maintaining the balance between staying informed and an information overload is a struggle. But when it comes to information surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, we want to ensure you have the facts, while providing some hope for the future.

Dr. Chelsey Ellis, medical microbiologist at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital is here to help!

Dr. Chelsey Ellis, Medical Microbiologist at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital

Have you questioned the speed at which the COVID-19 vaccines were developed?

This is a concern that many people may have, as they were developed in record time, but although they were developed quickly, they underwent the same rigour, testing and approvals that all vaccines go through.

“The difference with the COVID-19 vaccines was that the timeline was fast-tracked, and no time was wasted. Globally there was a huge urgency to get vaccines approved and into peoples’ arms as soon as it was safe to do so,” Dr. Ellis said.

Dr. Ellis said new vaccines go through different stages of clinical studies, which are called Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 trials. These trials usually take place one after the other, however because of the urgency of the situation, the phases overlapped.

Phase 2 trials started before the Phase 1 trials were finished, and Phase 3 trials started before the Phase 2 trials were complete. This meant that in the end the same large-scale trials were completed, but in a shorter time frame, as there were no pauses between the phases. Typically, the breaks between the trials is necessary for researchers to secure funding for the next. 

The development of the COVID-19 vaccine was a worldwide collaboration that was heavily funded; there was no time spent waiting for funding to be secured.  

“The scientific data was thoroughly reviewed immediately as it became available. This information did not wait in a queue or sit on a shelf,” Dr. Ellis said. “The COVID-19 vaccine was the No. 1 priority for all those involved, along every step of the way.”

Dr. Ellis said the rapid development of the vaccine provides a glimpse into what is possible with sufficient resources, a sense of urgency and global collaboration. 

“We have seen firsthand that a much-needed vaccine can be developed in a shorter timeframe without compromising safety,” she said.

Trust reliable, factual and accurate sources

Dr. Ellis studies vaccines regularly and understands how effective they are, but she is also a New Brunswicker who has been living through this pandemic and understands how difficult the past 14 months have been. She said during this incredibly challenging time, it’s important to source reliable, factual and accurate answers.

“We are accustomed to relying on experts and professionals. We seek out accountants for taxes, carpenters to build houses, and dentists to repair broken teeth. The same is true when seeking information on vaccines, we must trust the experts and find answers to questions about vaccines from these reputable and expert sources,” she said.

We all have a role to play

“Vaccination of the population is crucial to control the pandemic,” said Dr. Ellis.

We all have a role to play when it comes to controlling the spread of COVID-19, and Dr. Ellis said vaccination offers protection to not only those who receive the vaccine, but also to those around them. 

“I encourage everyone to get the a COVID-19 vaccine and to encourage their loved ones to do the same,” she said.  

As she reflects on the past year, Dr. Ellis is proud of how New Brunswickers have worked so hard to control the spread of COVID-19 in the province – but she highlights that we still have steps to take before we are through this pandemic. 

“Vaccination is another opportunity to show our commitment to curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic and protecting ourselves and our loved ones from severe illness or death.”

Dr. Ellis recommends the following trusted sources for COVID-19 vaccination information:

Horizon’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics are booking appointments for those now eligible to receive the vaccine. To view the eligibility list and to book an appointment, click here.

Dr. Chelsey Ellis is a medical microbiologist at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital. She has worked at Horizon since 2015 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree with combined honours in microbiology and biochemistry, as well a medical degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Following her time at Dalhousie, Dr. Ellis completed a five-year residency in medical microbiology at the University of Ottawa. Born and raised in New Brunswick, Dr. Ellis lives in Greater Moncton with her husband and their three young children. Outside of work, she enjoys being outdoors, camping and gardening.