COVID-19 Vaccination and the Right to Take Risks

Journal of Medical Ethics 48:534-537 (2022)
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Abstract

The rare but severe cerebral venous thrombosis occurring in some AstraZeneca vaccine recipients has prompted some governments to suspend part of their COVID-19 vaccination programmes. Such suspensions have faced various challenges from both scientific and ethical angles. Most of the criticisms against such suspensions follow a consequentialist approach, arguing that the suspension will lead to more harm than benefits. In this paper, I propose a rights-based argument against the suspension of the vaccine rollouts amid this highly time-sensitive combat of COVID-19. I argue that by suspending a vaccine rollout, a government infringes people's right to take the risks they deem worth taking for their health. I also consider four potential objections to my argument and explain why none of them undermines my argument.

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Pei-Hua Huang
University of Adelaide

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