Vaccines, virus and vulnerabilities: a timely forum

This year’s World Day of the Sick will be particularly important, coming as the world continues to grapple with the trauma of 2020 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

To understand the ethical and human concerns framing the experience of the virus, ACU will host a forum of international experts and thought leaders to discuss mental health, public health and the question of solidarity in the face of this global pandemic.

'Vaccines, viruses and vulnerabilities: Catholic health and care of the human person' will be held online to reach health workers, clergy and laity around the world as they come to terms with the changing world of illness, treatment, and living in the time of a potentially fatal and highly contagious virus.

The event will be moderated by Dr David Kirchhoffer, Director, Queensland Bioethics Centre at ACU and will feature Sr Carol Keehan, Coordinator, Vatican Commission for COVID-19 and Dr Brian M Kane, Senior Director of Ethics, Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA).

The forum, which is a collaboration between ACU, Catholic Health Australia and The Catholic Weekly, is open to members of the public.

Executive Dean of Theology and Philosophy Professor Dermot Nestor said the forum would address the human questions which underlie the practical problems of illness in general and the coronavirus pandemic in particular.

“In his message for World Day of the Sick this week, his Holiness emphasised the way sickness makes us realise our own vulnerability, our innate need of others and the role of faith. It’s so important to take time to focus on these human dimensions, particularly at a time when we have become consumed by data in the face of a pandemic."

Professor Nestor said the forum would be of particular interest to those who work in a health care setting.

“The message from Pope Francis this week reminded us that an effective health treatment must have a relational aspect and that doctors, nurses, professionals and volunteers need to accompany the sick on a path of healing grounded in a trusting interpersonal relationship.

“Health professionals have been working in a crisis mode for many months now and they need a context which acknowledges the values that power their work.

“ACU is a leading institution both for the training of health professionals and for the study of ethical and religious questions, so we are proud to be able to contribute in this way.”

Vaccines, viruses and vulnerabilities: Catholic health and care of the human person

Australian Catholic University online forum

Date: Thursday 11 February 2021
Time: 12pm (AEDT)
Cost: Free
Venue: Online, details will be provided following registration

Register online by Monday 8 February 2021 at this link.

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