A vaccine tax: ensuring a more equitable global vaccine distribution

Journal of Medical Ethics 48 (10):658-661 (2022)
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Abstract

While COVID-19 vaccines provide light at the end of the tunnel in a difficult time, they also bring forth the complex ethical issue of global vaccine distribution. The current unequal global distribution of vaccines is unjust towards the vulnerable living in low-income countries. A vaccine tax should be introduced to remedy this. Under such a scheme, a small fraction of the money spent by a country on vaccines for its own population would go into a fund, such as COVAX, dedicated to buying vaccines and distributing them to the world’s poorest. A vaccine tax would provide a much-needed injection of funds to remedy the unequal distribution of vaccines. The tax allows for a distribution that, to a lesser degree, reflects the ability to pay and is superior to a donation-based model because it minimises the opportunity for free-riding.

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Andreas Albertsen
Aarhus University

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