Dua Lipa Calls Out DaBaby’s Controversial Comments At Rolling Loud: ‘I’m Surprised And Horrified’

Dua Lipa is calling out the homophobic rant unleashed by DaBaby during his appearance at the recent Rolling Loud Festival in Miami.

The two recently collaborated on the single “Levitating”, and she admitted she was “surprised and horrified” by what the rapper told the crowd.

“If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two or three weeks, put your cellphone light in the air,” he said.

“Ladies, if your p–y smell like water, put your cellphone light in the air. Fellas, if you ain’t suck a n–’s d–k in the parking lot, put your cellphone lights in the air. Keep it f-king real,” he added.

RELATED: Dua Lipa Reportedly Being Sued For Using Paparazzi Photo On Instagram

After those remarks sparked backlash, Dua Lipa responded in a message she shared on Instagram Story.

“I’m surprised and horrified at DaBaby‘s comments, she wrote. “I really don’t recognize this as the person I worked with. I know my fans know where my heart lies and that I stand 100% with the LGBTQ community. We need to come together to fight the stigma and ignorance around HIV/AIDS.”

RELATED: DaBaby Brings Out Tory Lanez At Rolling Loud After Megan Thee Stallion’s Set — The Internet Reacts

DaBaby’s homophobic comments weren’t the only controversy from his Rolling Loud set. He was also hit with backlash when he brought rapper Tory Lanez onstage immediately after Megan Thee Stallion finished her performance; Lanez entered a plea of not guilty after being charged with two felony counts over allegedly shooting Megan in the foot.

© 2021 Entertainment Tonight Canada, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Calgary police identify victim in Highland Park suspicious death

Homicide detectives identified Calgarian Mayiel Deng Kiir, 20, as the victim of the suspicious death in Highland Park over the weekend, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

Read more:
Calgary police investigate suspicious death after man dropped off at hospital, later dies

On July 24 at 4:30 a.m., Kiir was dropped off at the Peter Lougheed Centre emergency department but later died of injuries “sustained in a confrontation with an unknown individual,” police said.

The fight happened about an hour earlier at a Highland Park home in the 100 block of 42 Avenue N.E.

“Our investigators have been working tirelessly since Saturday to identify a potential suspect,” said Staff Sgt. Colin Chisolm.

“We are still in the process of examining all evidence, including CCTV that has been collected, and encourage anyone with information to contact police.”

If you have information about Kiir’s death, call the police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Dalhousie University professor co-authors 'good news, bad news' study on global fish stock health

WATCH: A new study has found that around the world, just over half of global fish stock conservation targets are being met.

A new study co-authored by a Halifax marine biologist has found that around the world, more than half of fish stock conservation targets are being met, but Canada is not among the countries meeting its goals on average.

It’s a “good news, bad news” report, said Dalhousie University marine conservation professor Boris Worm, who analyzed information from a global database of fish stock assessments, with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and King Abdullah University of Saudi Arabia.

Read more:
Study suggests fishing gear entanglement stunting growth of endangered right whales

“Overall, the situation of global fisheries is slowly improving and that’s good news,” he told Global News. “However, this comes with a note of caution that just under half of fisheries are trending in the wrong direction.

“Unfortunately, particularly in Canada, we see this trend as well where the situation is not improving on average. While some stocks are improving, others are getting worse … so there’s some work to do.”

The database contained information for some 800 species harvested by humans around the world. Researchers used two metrics to come up with their findings: the amount of fish that exist in the water, and how intensely the species is being fished relative to what’s considered sustainable.

READ MORE: New underwater glider to help scientists track movements of endangered right whales

Two out of five commercially harvested species are not being fished sustainably, said the report. It also found some methods currently used to assess fish stock health tend produce “overly optimistic” outlooks on the average status of fish stocks, while others produce a more cautious picture.

Worm and the other researchers averaged those findings to determine the study’s results.

“Our study is really aimed at decision-makers to give them an average picture of where we are relative to where we should be,” he explained. “This is true for individual countries but also worldwide.”

He said he’d like to see this report become a catalyst for government action, encouraging them to realign fish stock targets with what’s sustainable, if they currently fall short. Canada in particular, he added, needs to improve its data collection on a handful of fish species.

“Our analysis could only be done for those fish stocks that had accurate scientific information, which is by far not all of them … So we’re missing a lot of stocks that are probably in poor health on average.”

READ MORE: ‘We absolutely listened’ — Minister backs livelihood fisheries plan as some First Nations oppose it

Shannon Arnold, senior marine program coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre, welcomed the report and its findings, characterizing Canadian fisheries management decisions as “too optimistic.”

“It’s a really important paper because it says we actually need to continue to be really cautious. In Canada, over 30 per cent of our fish stocks are either in the critical zone or in the cautious zone still, and that means they still need to recover.”

Canadian Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan was unavailable for an interview on Tuesday, and her office did not answer questions about the report’s findings.

In a written statement, however, it said the government takes a sustainable, “precautionary approach” that prioritizes not just the conservation of stocks, but their rebuilding. Since 2018, it said Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has completed rebuilding plans for seven of 19 stocks at risk, and two have improved to the point where they’re no longer in the critical zone.

Rebuilding plans are also in development for five additional stocks, and its commitments on fish stock provisions are legally binding.

“Most recently, Minister Jordan has taken decisive action to stabilize, protect and rebuild Pacific salmon stocks with the $647.1 million Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative, announced last month,” said the statement.

“This initiative includes bold, transformative steps like long-term closures of commercial Pacific salmon fisheries and a license buy-back program, which will permanently remove fishing effort from Pacific salmon stocks while providing license owners the opportunity to retire with dignity.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Man severely burned in attempted murder probe related to accused: court documents

A 66-year-old man from London, Ont., who was critically injured over the weekend when police allege he was intentionally set on fire is the father of the accused, court documents suggest.

Emergency crews found a man engulfed in flame when they were called about an altercation in the area of Thompson Road and Jacqueline Street around 5:15 p.m. Saturday.

The fire was extinguished and the man was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said. He remained in critical condition as of Tuesday.

The disturbing incident was captured on video by the rider of a nearby bus and posted to Facebook, though it was taken down soon afterwards.

The since-removed post accompanying the video alleged the victim had something poured on him before the fire began. London police would not confirm the details.

Read more:
London, Ont., man facing attempted murder charge after person reportedly set on fire

Police have charged Kristifor Jiva Radovanovici, 33, with attempted murder in connection with the case.

Court documents obtained by 980 CFPL show the 66-year-old victim and the accused share the same last name, and separate court documents in an unrelated matter from earlier this year suggest they are father and son.

Police allege they seized a knife and ammunition from the accused. As a result, Radovanovici was also charged with two counts of breach of probation and six counts of possession of a firearm or ammunition contrary to a prohibition order.

According to court documents, the accused was bound by two probation orders, one from this year and one dating from 2019, not to possess any weapons as defined under the Criminal Code.

Radovanovici appeared in court on Monday for the charges and was remanded into custody. He will appear again on Wednesday.

Read more:
Grimsby teen arrested, 2nd person still wanted in Sunday shooting, London police say

The 33-year-old is no stranger to the legal system.

According to court records, he has more than four dozen closed files at London’s courthouse for unspecified charges dating back several years, along with two open files that are both from this year, one of which is Saturday’s alleged attempted murder.

The other open file, which dates from March, is related to Radovanovici being charged with two counts of failure to comply with a release order, documents show.

The charges allege that the accused failed to comply with orders that he remain in his home 24/7, with exceptions, and that he not possess any weapons as defined under the Criminal Code, excluding knives for the preparation of food.

It’s not clear in the documents what prior matter led to the release orders being issued.

Read more:
Woodstock, Ont. police lay charges after man hurt in Standard Tube Park altercation

Radovanovici was issued a summons to appear in court for the two counts, the documents show. According to an attached affidavit, the summons was delivered to the 33-year-old’s residence and left with his father.

The name listed in the affidavit as being Radovanovici’s father is the same one identified in court documents as being the victim of Saturday’s incident.

In addition, a court file for a man with the same name as the victim, dated from 2007, lists the same home address as that seen in court documents for the 33-year-old accused.

Anyone with information about Saturday’s investigation is asked to contact police at 519-661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Child sent to hospital with serious injuries after being hit by car in Midland, Ont.

A child was sent to a local with serious injuries after they were hit by a car in Midland, Ont., on Monday night.

At about 8:20 p.m., Southern Georgian Bay OPP responded to a crash at a car wash on William Street.

Read more:
Recycling truck crashes into Midland, Ont., building

According to officers, a young child was reported to have been hit by a vehicle and was sent to a local hospital with serious injuries before being airlifted to a Toronto area hospital.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Infrastructure bank may give more funding to electric buses as demand rises: CEO

The head of a federal infrastructure financing agency says he has seen a shift in the types of transit projects cities want to build as they opt for zero-emission buses in lieu of large-scale subways.

Canada Infrastructure Bank chief executive Ehren Cory says the shift mirrors other changes in the planning of projects the agency was set up to help fund like electricity grid projects.

What it means for the financing agency is a rethink of how much of the billions in public funding will go to smaller projects rather than large ones.

Read more:
NDP to help Liberals get net-zero emissions legislation to Senate faster

The bank has set aside $5 billion in spending in the short-term on transit projects, with about $1.5 billion of that going towards helping transit operators replace aging diesel buses with zero-emission fleets.

Along with the most recent announcement of financing to Brampton, Ont., a loan of up to $400 million for the purchase of 450 zero-emission buses by 2027, the agency has committed roughly $1 billion in financing towards zero-emission buses.

Cory says the agency won’t hesitate to adjust its investment plans if demand for zero-emission buses outstrips the current financing targets.

“Just to be clear, though, we’re quite flexible. And if that ends up being $2 billion for (zero-emission bus fleets) and $3 billion for other things like light rail, that will still be just fine,” he said in an interview.

“Our goal is to deploy our capital in the transit space. The outcomes we care about are transit ridership and GHG reduction, and it’s up to the owners of those the fleet owners, municipalities, to make the trade-offs.”

The Liberals created the agency in 2017 to entice funding from private-sector partners, particularly big institutional investors like pension funds, to stretch available federal dollars and pay for what the government called “transformational” infrastructure projects.

The original vision of large-scale construction projects, though, has given way to what Cory described as more scaled, nimble and flexible projects. In the transit space, it has meant more cities talking about zero-emission buses or smaller light rail to connect to the spine of a subway.

It’s not just transit fleets getting money: The agency has signed a financing deal for a fleet of zero-emission school buses in British Columbia. Cory says the agency is deep in negotiations on a similar arrangement that he hinted could be announced in the coming weeks.

So why the interest in these fleets?

Read more:
All new light-duty vehicles sold in Canada will be zero-emission by 2035, feds say

The buses themselves don’t come with new revenues generated through user fees, which had been part of the original vision of the infrastructure bank. The projects were supposed to be revenue-generating to help the private backer get a return, or profit, on their investment.

But, Cory says, they do come with reduced maintenance and fuel costs over time. Those savings can help the city finance other projects, and repay the agency’s investment.

“I think that’s why we’re getting the uptake we did,” Cory says.

“There’s a pretty consistent theme that municipalities see this as additive to their efforts and as a place where the CIB can be really helpful to them.”

NDP infrastructure critic Taylor Bachrach, whose party like the Conservatives vowed in the 2019 campaign to eliminate the infrastructure bank if elected to govern, questioned whether the financing agency was the best vehicle to help with the purchase of buses.

“Electric buses are an important climate strategy, but we are concerned the Liberals have chosen to fund this infrastructure through their beleaguered infrastructure bank instead of traditional approaches that empower municipalities and communities,” he said.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

B.C. First Nation condemns actions of Fairy Creek protesters who cut down small trees

WATCH: Anti-old growth logging protesters are defending their actions, after police say they cut down several trees to form a blockade outside of the Fairy Creek Watershed area on Vancouver Island.

The leaders of a B.C. First Nation have condemned a move by anti-logging protesters who cut down some small trees to impede police from enforcing a court injunction against blockades set up to prevent old-growth logging on southern Vancouver Island.

Read more:
Fairy Creek protesters defend cutting down small trees in order to impede police

The RCMP said in a news release Saturday that protesters had cut 18 trees with chainsaws and laid the trunks across a road in the Fairy Creek watershed area.

The Pacheedaht First Nation called the protesters’ actions “disrespectful and anti-social,” noting that no public trees in the territory can be cut down without their permission.

Pacheedaht First Nation hereditary chief Frank Queesto Jones and chief councillor Jeff Jones listed a series of other concerns, including vandalism, unsanitary camp conditions and a lack of access to traditional activities such as berry picking and bark gathering as well as hunting and fishing.

“The Pacheedaht community does not believe that blockades, violence, vandalism, theft, and destruction of the environment practised by the protesters a productive path towards sound forest management decision-making,” the statement said.

Read more:
16 more arrested at Fairy Creek anti-logging protests

The group, dubbed the Rainforest Flying Squad, said Monday that members cut the small, second-growth trees in order to slow police progress in reaching other protesters who were chained to structures.

The group also said it has the support of Pacheedaht First Nation elder Bill Jones, releasing a statement from Jones that said it’s common practice in logging to cut down young trees growing at the side of roadways and that’s not a threat to ecology.

The Rainforest Flying Squad said that very little of the old-growth forest remains in B.C., and the province’s temporary deferral of old-growth logging across 2,000 hectares in the Fairy Creek and central Walbran areas falls short of what’s needed.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Unvaccinated students will follow stricter COVID-19 outbreak rules, Ontario's top doctor says

WATCH ABOVE: Due to the "direct effects" of Ontario's COVID-19 vaccination program, chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore said on Tuesday that an estimated 31,280 cases of COVID-19 among people over 18 have been prevented in the province. Moore added that approximately two out of 10 eligible people, however, have yet to be vaccinated.

TORONTO — Ontario’s top doctor says students aged 12 to 17 who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 will be subject to stricter isolation rules in the event of virus outbreaks this fall.

Dr. Kieran Moore says students who are fully vaccinated against the virus will have to take COVID-19 tests if they’re in contact with a high-risk person.

Students who test negative can go back to school, but those who aren’t immunized will be off school for a minimum of 10 days while they wait for test results.

Moore says unvaccinated students will have to take a second COVID test after about seven days, and they could be out of class for up to 20 days depending on the result.

Read more:
Ontario regions push to boost youth vaccination rate as school year window closes

The province hasn’t yet released its complete back-to-school plan and Moore says the details about public health measures are still being finalized.

Sixty-four per cent of Ontario youth aged 12 to 17 have one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 42 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Moore called for parents to get their children vaccinated this week, noting that time has nearly run out for full immunization to kick if before school starts in September.

“There is an advantage, just alone … to being present in school, full participation in all sports and activities, by being immunized,” Moore told reporters on Tuesday.

“I hope that parents and students see that advantage.”

Moore said the province is working on a plan to vaccinate children aged five to 12 for when vaccines are approved for use in that age group — something he anticipates may happen by late fall or early in the winter, depending on when trials and approvals wrap up.

The fall plan for school may also include masking, Moore said, as public health monitors the virus situation.

Moore stopped short of supporting a vaccine mandate for students and school staff on Tuesday. He said he doesn’t think the policy is necessary at this point because immunization rates in the province are already reasonably high, with 79 per cent of eligible people having received one dose.

“I don’t think it’s a necessary tool in our tool kit just yet,” he said.

Premier Doug Ford has said he doesn’t support mandating vaccines for workers, leaving it up to employers to develop their own vaccination policies.

Calls have grown from professional groups and political opponents for mandatory vaccinations among health-care workers and other essential workers, including teachers.

Read more:
Unvaccinated people 6.4 times more likely to get COVID-19: Ontario’s top doctor

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario has recently publicly supported mandatory shots for education workers.

Doris Grinspun, CEO of the group, said on Tuesday that the current vaccination rate for youth is “pretty bad” with the first day of school just over a month away.

She said the level of vaccination among students and staff, and whether measures such as mask rules are kept in place, will be a major factor in the severity of a fourth wave of infections.

“I’m pretty convinced that there will be a fourth wave at this point, perhaps not everywhere in the province the same, but there will be,” she said in an interview. “The question is how serious it will be, and that’s what we need to mitigate now.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia's mental health crisis and what the party leaders say they'll do about it

Pressing Iain Rankin and the other leaders about how much of the health care budget will be earmarked for mental health; national stakeholders say it needs to be over 10% and should be more as we head into COVID recovery. Alicia Draus has more.

In any given year, about 20 per cent of Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness and by the age of 40, half of the population will have or have had a mental illness.

Despite how common mental illnesses are, support for mental health is lacking.

READ MORE: N.S. social workers call for systemic overhaul of the mental health and addiction services system

“Mental health care pre-pandemic had its issues and there weren’t always services there when people needed them, and waitlists were long,” said Beverly Cadham, branch manager for the Halifax-Dartmouth chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“So when the pandemic happened, I think that exacerbated that issue to the point where people have not been getting the services they needed in a timely manner.”

Mental health organizations have reported an increase in people reaching out due to the pandemic and advocates warn that there will likely be long-lasting mental health issues because of the pandemic.

“I personally feel we act in a crisis mode versus an intervention and prevention, so we need to invest more into getting people into the system into the help they need before it gets to a crisis mode,” said Cadham.

With Nova Scotia in the middle of an election campaign Cadham says that regardless of who wins and forms the next government, she hopes that mental health is made a priority and that the government dedicates 10 per cent of the health budget towards mental health — a figure recommended by the World Health Organization. But so far, only the NDP is committing to that.

“We are at Nova Scotia today somewhere in the area of six per cent. In the NDP, we have brought forward some time ago a mental health bill of rights that says that by 2025, Nova Scotia must be in the place where 10 per cent is being spent on mental health,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill on Wednesday.

NDP Leader Gary Burrill answers questions in Halifax on Tuesday July 27, 2021.

NDP Leader Gary Burrill answers questions in Halifax on Tuesday July 27, 2021.

Jesse Thomas / Global News

Last week, Burrill promised that if elected, his government would use some of the funds to create same-day and next-day mental health clinics so that mental health care is more accessible for Nova Scotians.

READ MORE: Keeping track of the N.S. election and promises from main party leaders

It’s that accessibility of care that’s become a talking point for all three leaders, with Liberal Leader Iain Rankin making a similar announcement on Wednesday.

Liberal Leader Iain Rankin announces his plans for Health Care at the Halifax Common on July 27, 2021.

Liberal Leader Iain Rankin announces his plans for Health Care at the Halifax Common on July 27, 2021.

Alicia Draus / Global news

“A re-elected Liberal government will invest $4 million annually to launch eight new mental health walk-in clinics to ensure Nova Scotians struggling with mental health issues can receive timely, appropriate and dedicated treatment from a team of dedicated professionals.”

Rankin also announced that they will invest in mobile outreach street nurses to provide support for marginalized individuals who aren’t comfortable seeking health care at regular facilities.

He told reporters that their plans to create a dedicated office to physician and health care professionals recruitment would help to staff these efforts.

PC Leader Tim Houston says they will put an extra $100 million towards mental health, which will help create a 24/7 mental-telehealth service along with a dedicated emergency number, 9-8-8, for mental health crises so people no longer have to call 9-1-1.

PC Leader Tim Houston talks about his party's approach to mental health supports on Monday July 26, 2021.

PC Leader Tim Houston talks about his party's approach to mental health supports on Monday July 26, 2021.

Global News

Houston also says he’ll create a separate mental health and addictions department with its own minister and will make mental health more accessible by making sure that paying for counselling is not a barrier.

“Access should be truly universal. And under a PC government, it will be. If you don’t qualify for private mental health coverage, under our plan, you will,” he said on Tuesday.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

As Canada hits COVID-19 vaccine milestone, reducing barriers to access key: experts

WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that the government would continue to push people to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot after a recent national health report showed a majority of cases was among the unvaccinated.

Canada hit a major new milestone in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout this week.

After a slow start to vaccination efforts at the beginning of the year and a rapid influx over recent months, the country officially has enough of the coveted vials to fully vaccinate every eligible Canadian.

That comes as public health officials have confirmed that only 0.5 per cent of current COVID-19 cases are in Canadians who have been fully vaccinated against the virus, and as a resurgence in cases among unvaccinated populations raises concerns about the possibility of a fourth wave this fall.

So why are there still vaccine holdouts?

Experts say it’s not as simple as assuming everyone not yet vaccinated is an anti-vaxxer and that while the logistics of getting vaccines into arms remains a job for the provinces and municipalities, there is a role for Ottawa in championing grassroots efforts to reach those who still have concerns.

“I think people have an image that there’s a lot of anti-vaxxers out there. It’s actually a very small amount of the people not getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease specialist at McMaster University in Hamilton, who described hearing questions from his patients each day.

“There’s always one of them that has some questions that are a five, 10-minute conversation to get through … There’s a lot of those people still out there. There’s still fertile ground to reach them.”

READ MORE: B.C. targeting nearly 1 million eligible people who have not yet received COVID-19 vaccine

Recent polling appears to support that it’s not as easy as assuming anyone without a shot won’t get one.

Abacus Data released the results of new polling on Tuesday morning that suggested while 84 per cent of adult Canadians accept being vaccinated, only eight per cent are outright refusals — the other eight per cent are what could perhaps best be described as “hesitant.”

The majority of that hesitant eight per cent — equivalent to about 2.4 million adults — said they would prefer to “wait a bit” before getting a shot, while the rest said they “would prefer not to be vaccinated but could be persuaded to take a shot.”

That hesitant eight per cent also appears to be down from the 30 per cent of hesitant Canadians recorded in previous polling in March 2021, a shift the pollsters called “significant.”

Polling from Ipsos for Global News last month also identified roughly 20 per cent of the population as still needing to be convinced to get the shot, with just one in 10 of those outright refusing to do so.

READ MORE: Nearly 20% of Canadians still hesitant or refusing to get COVID-19 vaccine: poll

As of July 23 — the last available federal data — 70 per cent of the total population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, rising to 80 per cent of those over the age of 12. Fifty per cent of the total population is now fully vaccinated, while that rises to 58 per cent among those aged 12 and over.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked on Tuesday about closing the gap and people need to understand the risk they taking for themselves and imposing on those around them, like children, who cannot yet get vaccinated even as the more contagious Delta variant spreads.

“People who are hesitant about getting a vaccine need to know that the consequences of getting COVID when you are unvaccinated are potentially extraordinarily severe,” he said, noting the government will keep up efforts like advertising to raise awareness about the vaccines.

“We know that the severe consequences of COVID — hospitalizations and the worst outcomes – will increasingly almost entirely in unvaccinated individuals and pockets of the population.”

Experts say boosting uptake among holdouts will require a human approach where health-care providers and community leaders avoid shame and instead focus on answering questions, as well as reducing barriers to getting a vaccine around things like language and mobility.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. One is to continue to reduce barriers to enable people to get vaccinated. The second is to treat people who have questions in a serious matter. This not the time for shaming and blaming or finger-pointing that does nothing but further polarize the situation,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Toronto.

“You have to address this in a meaningful and serious manner, and treat people in an empathetic approach. And of course, the third component is combating misinformation.”

The latter has been a persistent scourge throughout the pandemic, with U.S. President Joe Biden calling social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook “killers” for their role in facilitating the spread of misinformation about the virus.

The White House doubled down on that last Friday, pointing the finger at social media platforms for their “inconsistent enforcement” of how they handle misinformation claiming that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective, that they carry microchips and that they hurt women’s fertility.

READ MORE: How conspiracy theorists are using a CDC database to spread misinformation and fear

There is no evidence to support any of those claims: the vaccines are highly effective at reducing severe outcomes and death from the virus and they do not contain microchips.

The claim that the vaccine would harm fertility was based on false information suggesting it would cause the human body to target a spike protein called syncitin-1 involved in pregnancy, which is distinct from the spike protein from the shell of the coronavirus itself and which the vaccine teaches the body to identify. That is false.

READ MORE: Will the coronavirus vaccine cause infertility? Here’s what you need to know

Connecting people who may have questions with community leaders and medical practitioners who can address their concerns will be key to making those who are hesitant more comfortable with the vaccine, the doctors say.

The best way to do that, Chagla said, is by amplifying voices within communities that are trusted.

He cited the It’s Our Shot campaign as one example and said the federal government’s focus on educating Canadians about vaccines means they should be working to get more resources to those kinds of grassroots groups.

“All it takes is one of those people to hit the right audience and let someone get vaccinated,” he said.

“Absolutely, there’s work locally, but there’s definitely a role for the federal government here in terms of getting some of those grassroots organizations to the top and really letting them have more of a voice out there.”

Bogoch offered similar thoughts.

He said the federal government still has an important role to play in making sure good quality information is available to the public, while the job of reducing barriers to access will still largely fall on the provinces and municipalities.

“We know that there may be language barriers or mobility barriers or technology barriers preventing some people from getting vaccinated,” he said. “So I think there’s a lot that we can do collectively, as you know, as a country to get as many people vaccinated.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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