Prioritizing the Non-Infected Population for COVID-19 Vaccination: an Ethical Perspective


Ethical considerations play a key role in the proposed frameworks for COVID-19 vaccine allocation. Based on a set of ethical principles, these frameworks make recommendations on those who should be prioritized for vaccination. WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts of Immunization (SAGE)1, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM)2, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHCHS)3 have issued frameworks for allocation and prioritization of COVID-19 vaccination. None of these frameworks have made any recommendations as to the prioritization of those who have not yet been infected with SARS-CoV-2 (non-infected group) over those who have been infected previously (infected group). Does this imply that giving priority to the non-infected group is not justified from the ethical perspective of these frameworks? In the following, we review the ethical foundations of these frameworks and show that prioritization of the non-infected group is not only consistent with, but also implied by, these ethical foundations.

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