The Third COVID-19 Shot: Yay or Nay?

Pfizer’s latest data has suggested that a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine would strongly boost protection against the Delta variant, even more so than two doses alone. 

The unofficial Pfizer data indicates that antibody levels against the Delta variant in those aged 18 to 55 after receiving a third dose of vaccine are higher than for those who have only received their second dose (Howard, 2021). For those aged 65 to 85, the antibody response was even higher (Howard, 2021).

Extra doses in Quebec

The Quebec government is currently offering an extra dose of an mRNA vaccine to those who are looking to travel to countries that don’t recognize their vaccination status (CBC, 2021). As there are certain countries that don’t recognize people as being fully vaccinated if they have received two different COVID-19 vaccines, this has become a concerning issue for the approximate 1.3 million Canadians who have mixed and matched. Health officials have repeatedly mentioned that it is the recipient’s discretion to “seek advice and weigh the risks” prior to receiving a third dose (CBC, 2021).

Robert Maranda, a spokesman for the Health Department states that there are no studies assessing the impact of receiving three doses of two separate vaccines and that “the person should be properly counselled to be informed of the potential risks associated with this added dose compared to the benefits of the planned trip,” (CBC, 2021).


Hope for the immunocompromised


While a third dose may not be recommended for everyone, recent data has shown that it may be beneficial to those who are immunocompromised. According to a world first study, a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine could provide significantly greater protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in transplant patients (Favaro et al., 2021). Because transplant recipients’ immune systems are typically “unable to mount an adequate response to immunization”, they are much more prone to infectious diseases such as COVID-19 (Favaro et al., 2021). As such, the promising results from testing the third dose on transplant patients provides hope for other individuals who are immunocompromised due to other medical conditions.

What are health officials saying?

As of now, there is not enough evidence to demonstrate that a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is necessary. In the words of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), “there is currently no evidence on the need for booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine after the vaccine series is complete” (CBC, 2021). 

NACI does however recommend that the same mRNA vaccines are used for a second dose, but also ensures that mRNA shots are considered interchangeable should the first type be unavailable (CBC, 2021). Additionally, NACI mentions that any of the approved mRNA options are actually preferred as a second dose regardless of the type of vaccine that was received for the first (CBC, 2021). This is a result of emerging safety evidence and the possibility that having at least one dose of an mRNA vaccine may produce a better immune response (CBC, 2021). 

At the end of the day, it is the individuals’ responsibility to weigh the risks of receiving a third dose. That being said, it would be in your best interest to consult with a primary health physician beforehand in order to make an informed decision.

References

CBC/Radio Canada. (2021, July 27). Quebec offers extra dose to travellers whose vaccination status isn’t recognized | CBC News. CBCnews. https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/quebec-third-dose-covid-vaccine-travel-1.6117954.

Favaro, A., Philip, E. S., & Dunham, J. (2021, August 11). Third COVID-19 vaccine dose effective and safe for transplant Recipients: Study. Coronavirus. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/third-covid-19-vaccine-dose-effective-and-safe-for-transplant-recipients-study-1.5543323.

Howard, J. (2021, July 28). Pfizer claims 3rd DOSE ‘strongly’ BOOSTS protection against Delta variant. Coronavirus. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/pfizer-claims-3rd-dose-strongly-boosts-protection-against-delta-variant-1.5526101.

About the Author

Bairavie Piravakaran (she/her) is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Toronto Scarborough. As a Psychological & Health Sciences student, she values the importance of sharing credible information and making health resources more accessible to the public. Her interests in population health, research, and design are also reflected in her non-academic pursuits—she currently with the Young Leaders of Public Health and Medicine (YLPHM) as a Social Media Manager for the Scarborough Chapter and is a Health Promotion & Analytics Member at Critical Health Innovations Lab (CHIL). At EMPOWER Health, Bairavie works closely with the Marketing Team in order to plan and execute strategies that help inform the public about current health-related topics.

Is Canada heading towards a fourth wave?

The short answer is yes, but the real question is how severe the resurgence of COVID-19 cases will be. According to Canada’s latest modelling, the fourth wave is set to be driven by the delta variant; its impact on the general public, however, will directly correlate with the number of people who are fully vaccinated (Aiello, 2021).

The pandemic of the unvaccinated

The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) has also warned that the upcoming surge in COVID case numbers could become a great threat to the province (Johnson, 2021). Ontarians who have yet to receive two doses are now considered to be the most vulnerable population. Officials are calling this upcoming fourth wave “the pandemic of the unvaccinated” (Johnson, 2021).

“The updated longer-range forecast shows how the epidemic trajectory may evolve through early September. It suggests that we are at the start of the Delta-driven fourth wave, but that the trajectory will depend on ongoing increases in fully vaccinated coverage, and the timing, pace and extent of reopening,” – Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

A Disproportionate Impact

In a recent interview,  Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller expresses his concern as he fears that this Delta-driven fourth wave would heavily impact marginalized communities, especially Indigenous peoples (Malone, 2021). According to Miller, a large portion of Indigenous peoples, particularly those living on reserves, are children under the age of 12, who are not eligible to get a dose (Malone, 2021). The biggest threat to unvaccinated individuals however, is the rising number of delta variant cases. 

Outbreaks of the Delta variant have already begun to pop up on reserves within the past few weeks. In northern Saskatchewan, the Black Lake First Nation went into lockdown last month as the Delta variant spread rapidly and affected around 1600 individuals (Malone, 2021).The Athabasca Health Authority also claims that the number of cases this week reached over 200—ultimately requiring those living in affected areas to self-isolate (Malone, 2021).

Taking a closer look at the numbers

Hospitalization rates across the region have continued to remain low, with less than 1% of hospitalized cases occurring in people who are fully vaccinated (Aiello, 2021). That being said, 89.7% of all hospitalized cases occurring in unvaccinated people are those who are eligible to receive the vaccine (Aiello, 2021). 

Out of the 84.9 % hospitalized cases who are unvaccinated, 5.3%of cases are those who are not yet eligible for vaccines, and 4.6% are those who are partially vaccinated. (Aiello, 2021)

“I think it’s going to be primarily be younger unvaccinated children [affected], and of course the adults who have chosen not to get the vaccine,” – Dr. Steve Flindall, York Region Emergency Physician

To book your COVID-19 vaccination, visit iamsick.ca!

References

Aiello, R. (2021, July 30). Canada is heading towards a ‘Delta-driven’ FOURTH Wave, tam says. Coronavirus. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/canada-is-heading-towards-a-delta-driven-fourth-wave-tam-says-1.5529290.

Johnson, N. (2021, August 4). Ontario hospitals begin to brace for fourth wave of covid-19. Toronto. https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-hospitals-begin-to-brace-for-fourth-wave-of-covid-19-1.5534889.

Malone, K. G. (2021, August 4). Indigenous Minister worries lifting COVID-19 restrictions could bring fourth wave. Coronavirus. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/indigenous-minister-worries-lifting-covid-19-restrictions-could-bring-fourth-wave-1.5534383.

About the Author

Bairavie Piravakaran (she/her) is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Toronto Scarborough. As a Psychological & Health Sciences student, she values the importance of sharing credible information and making health resources more accessible to the public. Her interests in population health, research, and design are also reflected in her non-academic pursuits—she currently with the Young Leaders of Public Health and Medicine (YLPHM) as a Social Media Manager for the Scarborough Chapter and is a Health Promotion & Analytics Member at Critical Health Innovations Lab (CHIL). At EMPOWER Health, Bairavie works closely with the Marketing Team in order to plan and execute strategies that help inform the public about current health-related topics.

Crunching COVID Numbers: What to Expect this Fall

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore claims that he “absolutely” expects a rise in COVID-19 cases in September and that Ontario will be preparing for the potential surge (Davidson, 2021).

Fall is right around the corner—and so is flu season. As most people tend to spend a great amount of time indoors due to colder temperatures, many respiratory viruses will also begin to spread around mid to late September (Davidson, 2021). It is crucial for Ontario to amp up its immunization rates by September so that Ontarians can safely take part in indoor activities (Davidson, 2021).

According to the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary, COVID-19 infections have recently jumped well over the 100 count (Tsekouras, 2021). The majority of these new cases were found in Toronto and Hamilton (Tsekouras, 2021). Other affected areas include Waterloo, Peel Region, York Region, Durham Region, Halton Region, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (Tsekouras, 2021).  As of July 28, 2021, there were 218 new cases reported in Ontario (Fox, 2021).

Update on COVID-19 Variants

As of last week, 234 cases of COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC) were reported in Ontario (Tsekouras, 2021). At least 99 of those 234 cases were of the Alpha variant, about 69 of them were of the Gamma variant, 61 cases of the Delta variant, and 5 of them were of the Beta variant (Tsekouras, 2021).

Looking Ahead

Dr. Moore seems confident that Ontario will be able to reach its desired targets and move forward from stage 3 before August 6th, 2021. In order to surpass stage 3 however, at least 80% of those eligible for vaccines need to have received their first dose, and 75% should have their second (Davidson, 2021). Moreover, the province will be remaining in this stage for a minimum of 21 days before most public health restrictions are lifted (Tsekouras, 2021). As such, Ontarians will need to keep up with their COVID-19 vaccines to be well-prepared for the fall.

“It’s a challenge to all Ontarians. If we want to get through to the next phase of reopening, which is a complete reopening with no public health measures, we’ve got work cut out for us.” – Dr. Kieran Moore

For those looking to get vaccinated against COVID-19, visit iamsick.ca to book your appointment.

References

Davidson, S. (2021, July 13). Ontario’s top doctor ‘absolutely’ expects rise IN COVID-19 cases in September. Toronto. https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-s-top-doctor-absolutely-expects-rise-in-covid-19-cases-in-september-1.5507695.

Fox, C. (2021, July 29). Ontario reports highest number of new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks. CP24. https://www.cp24.com/news/ontario-reports-highest-number-of-new-covid-19-cases-in-more-than-three-weeks-1.5527730.

Tsekouras, P. (2021, July 22). Ontario reports jump in new COVID-19 infections but case numbers remain below 200. Toronto. https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-reports-jump-in-new-covid-19-infections-but-case-numbers-remain-below-200-1.5519069.

About the Author

Bairavie Piravakaran (she/her) is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Toronto Scarborough. As a Psychological & Health Sciences student, she values the importance of sharing credible information and making health resources more accessible to the public. Her interests in population health, research, and design are also reflected in her non-academic pursuits—she currently with the Young Leaders of Public Health and Medicine (YLPHM) as a Social Media Manager for the Scarborough Chapter and is a Health Promotion & Analytics Member at Critical Health Innovations Lab (CHIL). At EMPOWER Health, Bairavie works closely with the Marketing Team in order to plan and execute strategies that help inform the public about current health-related topics.

The Long Haul: Post-COVID Conditions

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has directly impacted over 185 million people worldwide (including those who have deceased as a result of the virus). With just over 4 million of those 185 million+ cases being fatal (Ritchie et al., 2020), the remaining individuals are notoriously those who have supposedly recovered from their initial COVID symptoms. Recently however, a number of these “recovered individuals” have reported experiences of post-COVID conditions.

What are Post-COVID Conditions?

Post-COVID conditions, otherwise known as long COVID, post-acute COVID-19, or chronic COVID, involve a number of new and/or persisting symptoms that occur “four or more weeks after first being infected” with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (CDC, 2021). While post-COVID conditions have a tendency to affect those who experienced severe illness during their infectious period, these symptoms can affect anyone who has had COVID—regardless of whether or not they were asymptomatic during their infectious period (CDC, 2021). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled a list of some the most commonly reported symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
  • Cough
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Pins-and-needles feeling
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleep problems
  • Fever
  • Dizziness on standing (lightheadedness)
  • Rash
  • Mood changes
  • Change in smell or taste
  • Changes in period cycles

Who is at risk?

It is common for many to assume that the older population and/or those with pre-existing health conditions are at a higher risk for experiencing post-COVID conditions. While this is most likely true, a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Bergen in Norway reveals that long-term symptoms after having mild COVID-19 can also impact young people (Neustaeter, 2021). 

After analyzing the symptoms of 312 COVID patients six months post-COVID infection, the study found that 61% of these patients experienced post-COVID conditions (Neustaeter, 2021). Moreover, 52% of patients between the ages of 16 and 30 who suffered mild COVID-19 infection reported prolonged symptoms that included but were not limited to, loss of taste/smell, fatigue, shortness of breath, and impaired concentration (Neustaeter, 2021). The study mentions that these symptoms were “independently associated with severity of the initial illness, pre-existing conditions and increased convalescent antibodies” (Neustaeter, 2021). 

“The cognitive symptoms of impaired memory and concentration difficulties are particularly worrying for young people at school or university and [ultimately] highlights the importance of vaccination to prevent the long-term health implications of COVID-19.”

  • Bjorn Blomberg 

Multiorgan and Autoimmune Conditions

Those who experience severe COVID-19 illness during their infectious period may also experience multiorgan effects and/or autoimmune conditions post-infection. Multiorgan effects can involve damage to the body systems, including a combination of heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain functions (CDC, 2021). Autoimmune conditions on the other hand occur when the immune system misinterprets and attacks healthy cells, ultimately causing inflammation and/or tissue damage (CDC, 2021). 

Associate professor and study author Bjorn Blomberg claims that more research is needed to further assess the long-term impacts of the disease on other organs (Neustaeter, 2021). Based on the Norway study findings, he adds that it is crucial to understand the need for vaccines and other infection control measures—not just for the older population, but for younger age groups as well.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Post-COVID Conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects.html.

Neustaeter, B. (2021, June 23). Young adults with mild COVID-19 suffering from persistent symptoms six months after infection: study. CTV News. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/young-adults-with-mild-covid-19-suffering-from-persistent-symptoms-six-months-after-infection-study-1.5482892.

Ritchie, H., Ortiz-Ospina, E., Beltekian, D., Mathieu, E., Hasell, J., Macdonald, B., Giattino, C., Appel, C., Rodés-Guirao, L., & Roser, M. (2020, March 5). Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) – the data – Statistics and Research. Our World in Data. https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-data.

About the Author

Bairavie Piravakaran (she/her) is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Toronto Scarborough. As a Psychological & Health Sciences student, she values the importance of sharing credible information and making health resources more accessible to the public. Her interests in population health, research, and design are also reflected in her non-academic pursuits—she currently with the Young Leaders of Public Health and Medicine (YLPHM) as a Social Media Manager for the Scarborough Chapter and is a Health Promotion & Analytics Member at Critical Health Innovations Lab (CHIL). At EMPOWER Health, Bairavie works closely with the Marketing Team in order to plan and execute strategies that help inform the public about current health-related topics.

If you’re reading this, book your HPV vaccine at myvaccines.ca!

It is reasonable to say that COVID-19 vaccines are of utmost priority given the current situation. With that being said, it is crucial to remember that there are serious healthcare issues that have and continue to exist alongside the pandemic. 

What is HPV?

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (CDC, 2021). It can also be passed down from a mother to her offspring during childbirth. There are many types of HPV that lead to a variety of health issues including certain cancers. Getting an HPV vaccine however, can help protect against these outcomes (CDC, 2021).

What does HPV have to do with Cervical Cancer?

According to Dr. Raymond Mansoor, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Sir Lester Bird Mount St John’s Medical Centre, HPV is the “direct cause of 99.7 percent of all cervical cancer cases and so there is definitely some argument or discussion that can be had as to the benefits of vaccination against cervical cancer” (Williams, 2021). 

Cervical cancer is also the second most common form of cancer in females, following breast cancer (Williams, 2021). Because all females are at risk for contracting HPV, it is imperative to receive the HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer.

Herd Immunity and Cervical Cancer

While “herd immunity” is a term that is often used to help describe how a community can combat COVID-19, Dr. Mansoor claims that it can and should be applied to the prevalence of cervical cancer (Williams, 2021). In Australia, current epidemiological research has demonstrated a 50 percent reduction in reported cervical cancers per year, which is an indication that the HPV vaccines are a highly effective preventative measure against cervical cancer (Williams, 2021). 

If you have yet to get your HPV vaccine, easily book an appointment using myvaccines.ca!

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, January 19). STD Facts – Human papillomavirus (HPV). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm.

Williams, O. (2021, June 23). ‘Herd immunity via HPV vaccinations will reduce cervical cancer cases’ – Dr Mansoor. Antigua Observer Newspaper. https://antiguaobserver.com/herd-immunity-via-hpv-vaccinations-will-reduce-cervical-cancer-cases-dr-mansoor/.

About the Author

Bairavie Piravakaran (she/her) is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Toronto Scarborough. As a Psychological & Health Sciences student, she values the importance of sharing credible information and making health resources more accessible to the public. Her interests in population health, research, and design are also reflected in her non-academic pursuits—she currently with the Young Leaders of Public Health and Medicine (YLPHM) as a Social Media Manager for the Scarborough Chapter and is a Health Promotion & Analytics Member at Critical Health Innovations Lab (CHIL). At EMPOWER Health, Bairavie works closely with the Marketing Team in order to plan and execute strategies that help inform the public about current health-related topics.

Is It Safe to Gather With Others During The COVID-19 Pandemic? Use This Tool to Find Out: CovidVisitRisk.com

The Visit Risk Calculator (CovidVisitRisk.com) is a new assessment tool launched by the NIA (National Institute of Ageing) in partnership with the Government of Canada to help Canadians assess the risk-level associated with social gatherings.

Using the best available scientific evidence and the input of leading experts in infectious diseases, public health and epidemiology, the website was developed to help people of different ages and states of health better understand the factors that affect the risk of getting COVID-19 when visiting or gathering with others.

As vaccination programs ramp up across the country, restrictions are slowly loosening. Canadians want more guidance on what fully-vaccinated people can do safely. Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says, “We would like to enable people to take themselves through [this] kind of risk assessment while respecting local public health requirements.”

To use the tool, you will be asked a series of questions related to your vaccination and health status, and that of the people you want to gather with, details of the event and what the local infection rates are.

“This tool uses the best available scientific evidence to support people of all ages and states of health to make more informed decisions about gathering with others during the pandemic,” says Dr. Samir Sinha, NIA Director of Health Policy Research. “After working through the questions, people are assigned a risk level in accordance with the gathering they are considering, along with public health advice on how to meet more safely with others.”

Based on your answers, you will get a “risk score” from Low to High, a personalized report to help you understand the level of risk associated with your planned visit or gathering, and tips on how to make your visit or gathering as safe as possible for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The vision behind the tool is to prepare you and your loved ones to better discuss the potential risks and benefits of visiting or gathering with each other and in the end make a well-informed decision on how to make any necessary visits or gatherings as safe as possible.

“These risk assessments depend on your individual risk, who you’re about to get into contact with, as well as the epidemiology of your specific community,” says Dr. Theresa Tam.

As of June 25th 2021, 75% of the population 12 years and older has received at least one dose and 22% is fully vaccinated. However, COVID-19 remains an important public health issue as transmission with new variants of concern continue to circulate. Careful assessment before deciding to visit, gather, or meet with others remains vitally important.

To learn more about the COVID-19 Risk Calculator or to use it for yourself, click here.

Disclosure: EMPOWER Health helped the NIA build the online experience of the risk assessment tool, and provided technical guidance along with testing.  As always, our team is proud of our work with Public Health Organizations to help conquer COVID! Visit us at empower.ca!

References

Rabson, M. (2021, June 22). Risk-assessment tool for fully vaccinated people coming soon, Tam promises. Ctvnews.ca. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/risk-assessment-tool-for-fully-vaccinated-people-coming-soon-tam-promises-1.5481082

The wealthy bird gets the worm: Getting a head start on second doses

With the Delta variant continuing to spread in various parts of Ontario, it is crucial that second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are accessible to those who are most vulnerable. According to recent data however, it appears that those living in wealthier postal codes are moving well with the rate of second doses—even more so than the poorer and more racialized communities that need it the most.

Ontario has identified and targeted the following regions to receive an increased amount of second doses: Toronto, Peel Region, Halton and York Region. 

The independent research organization ICES claims that as of June 7, 2021,

the wealthier postal codes among the targeted regions appear to have an
increased amount of second-dose recipients  (Woodward, 2021). The postal code that led the race at the time was M5P which includes parts of Forest Hill where 17.55 percent of the residents had received their second dose (Woodward, 2021).The area around Jane and Finch, as well as Rexdale had significantly lower numbers, at 4.97 and 4.58 percent respectively (Woodward, 2021).

Dr. David Burt of the Black Scientists’ Task Force on Vaccine Equity states that “many [racialized and other vulnerable community members] are in the service industry, they can’t work from home, they have to take public transit, they have to work in the health-care sector”.

Distribution Solutions

The inequities with the rollout of second doses are no different than the first. In order to create a more balanced distribution, Toronto’s Sprint Strategy is working towards targeting areas of interest. On the other hand, pop-ups such as the ones held by Scarborough Health Network are focused on the population that lives and works in high-risk postal codes (Woodward, 2021).

References

Woodward, J. (2021, June 15). Ontario’s wealthiest zones get head start on second doses, data shows. Toronto. https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-s-wealthiest-zones-get-head-start-on-second-doses-data-shows-1.5470688.

Author, Bairavie Piravakaran (she/her)

Bairavie Piravakaran is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Toronto Scarborough. As a Psychological & Health Sciences student, she values the importance of sharing credible information and making health resources more accessible to the public. Her interests in population health, research, and design are also reflected in her non-academic pursuits—she currently volunteers with the Young Leaders of Public Health and Medicine (YLPHM) as a Social Media Manager for the Scarborough Chapter and is a Health Promotion & Analytics Member at Critical Health Innovations Lab (CHIL). At EMPOWER Health, Bairavie works closely with the Marketing Team in order to plan and execute strategies that help inform the public about current health-related topics.

Job Posting: Business Development Representative

Business Development Representative

iamsick.ca is a social enterprise with a laser focus on simplifying access to healthcare by helping Canadians find fast, easy, and appropriate care. Our website and mobile app allow patients to find nearby healthcare providers, book appointments online, see wait times from the comfort of their homes, and avoid long waits with our virtual waiting room.  Healthcare providers also benefit from our platform, because we help them deliver care more efficiently.  As we prepare for our next stage of growth, we are looking for a business development representative to join our team.  If you think you’d be a good fit, we’d love to hear from you!

In a nutshell, we are looking for an outgoing individual with some experience in sales & marketing who thrives in a startup environment.  You will help us spread the good word about iamsick.ca to healthcare providers.  You should be outcomes-oriented, and will be managing – and generally crushing – the sales pipeline.  You are a go-getter who takes pride in your work and won’t settle for anything less than excellence.  You relentlessly ensure the highest level of quality sales and service for our clients.

Here’s what you’ll be doing

  • Spread the good word about iamsick.cato potential & existing clients
  • Initiate, close and manage business opportunities to meet sales quotas and revenue targets
  • Rapidly act on new business opportunities
  • Ensure our clients receive the highest level of sales and service
  • Handle inbound and outbound sales
  • Maintain an organized system of leads and responsibilities (CRM experience preferred)
  • Analyze sales and metrics to refine your strategy and maximize revenue
  • Build strong relationships with small, medium, and large organizations
  • Create sales presentations, material and case studies
  • Uncover personas for health providers and patients so we can continually improve access and integration of health services for all Canadians
  • Keep a finger on the pulse of new client and user needs

Here’s what you’ll need

  • University Degree or College Diploma from an accredited institution
  • 1-3 years of sales, marketing, or telemarketing experience (SaaS preferred)
  • Experience in healthcare or healthcare IT would be an asset
  • Impeccable communication skills
  • A positive, energetic, self-motivated, and results-oriented attitude
  • Strengths in negotiation and skilled in overcoming objections
  • Ability to thrive under pressure and adapt to change
  • Amazing organizational skills
  • Experience making cold calls
  • Willingness to learn new things and explore new ideas
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and CRM software

Here’s what we offer you

  • Competitive salary with large commissions and benefits
  • You will be a part of a team striving to make a positive impact in Canadian healthcare
  • You will work on interesting projects and face exciting challenges
  • You will be a part of a small, highly motivated team that is already gaining traction
  • You will have the opportunity to build and grow your skills
  • A fun work environment with internal hackathons and team building
  • We value the perspectives of all team members.  Your opinions will help guide our products and processes
  • Our home base is conveniently located in downtown Toronto within a 30-second walk from the Queen’s Park TTC subway station

Please submit your application by September 16 to careers[at]iamsick.ca.

iamsick.ca’s Grand Challenge

How can a Canadian digital health startup like iamsick.ca improve healthcare access for pregnant women living in rural parts of The Philippines?

“You begin by collaborating with another U of T startup… add some sweat and perseverance… along with financial support from Grand Challenges Canada… and soon, you’ll be improving lives beyond our borders.” – Ryan Doherty (President & co-Founder – iamsick.ca / PhD candidate – Medical Biophysics )

It isn’t surprising that remote areas of the world have limited access to healthcare. When it comes to maternal health, this means limited access to obstetricians and diagnostic services that you would see in larger metropolitan areas. In the Philippines, it can be as extreme as 44% of pregnant women giving birth without access to a doctor.

Last Spring, we teamed up with another U of T startup, Sonola Imaging Technologies, whose specialty is creating portable ultrasound hardware, and prepared a Grand Challenges Canada proposal to build a maternal health ultrasound mHealth app & web platform.

Nurses and midwives in remote satellite clinics will use Sonola’s portable ultrasound device and our android app to record ultrasound images. These images would then be easily accessed & viewed by physicians at major health centres in nearby cities.

Last October, Grand Challenges Canada awarded us with a grant to support the project.  So, while working on the iamsick.ca website and mobile apps to help Canadians navigate the healthcare system and book online appointments with their doctors, members of our team have been hard at work on this global health project.

Our team is designing & developing the android app & web infrastructure, while Sonola is building the hardware that will be used to capture the ultrasound images. By working together, our two early-stage Canadian start-ups will create a system that will hopefully redefine maternal health access in rural parts of the Philippines.ultrasound-diagram

The ultimate goal of this project is to create a low-cost and scalable product. In contrast to traditional ultrasound machines, we are using readily available hardware, such as low- to mid-range Android phones and chip sets. In the future, this system could eventually be used to monitor pregnant women living anywhere in the world – whether it’s here at home in Canada, or in regions of the world with high maternal mortality rates. The potential impact of telemedicine systems like these are endless.

As for our system, we’ll finish building it this summer and pilot it in the Philippines before the end of the year.

If you have a bold idea for a innovative technology or process that will help tackle a global health challenge, please check out the Grand Challenges website and take part in their next call for proposals.

Our Growing Team

It may be slightly tacky to compare our team to the blooming spring flowers outside, but we certainly are growing! For the past few weeks, our in-office team has multiplied almost threefold. Who are these people, and where did they come from?

Every year, iamsick.ca takes on new interns as part of the Impact Centre’s internship program. This year, we have a handful of student interns with us for the summer. A few new developers and volunteers have also joined the team.

best-stairs

 

Since our group has grown so much, we took this opportunity to ask them why they decided to work with us, and where they see us going. Here’s some of what they had to say.

Why did you join iamsick.ca? 

I joined iamsick.ca because I think it is a great opportunity to apply my technical skills while learning about the healthcare system.

iamsick.ca really jumped out at me because as a marketer, I know I really have to believe in the product or service that I’m selling.  And I could see the good that iamsick is going to do.

What do you like about being part of the team? 

This is the best team I have ever worked with! Everyone is really enthusiastic and passionate about the work they do. What I really like about being part of this team is that this team is more than a team – it’s like family.

How do you see yourself making a difference for iamsick.ca, the healthcare system, and the world?

I look forward to helping iamsick.ca by helping to secure key deals that accelerate growth.

I believe that I am working to develop the healthcare system and helping to bring advancements to the basic right of getting healthcare .

Are you interested in joining us? 

We are currently looking for a Senior iOS Application Developer and a Senior Software Engineer. We will be at the Toronto Startup Job Fair at MaRS tomorrow, so drop by and say hi! For more information, email careers[at]iamsick.ca. We look forward to meeting you.