An ethical framework for global vaccine allocation

11 September 2020 Vol 369, Issue 6509


Policy Forum
An ethical framework for global vaccine allocation
By Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Govind Persad, Adam Kern, Allen Buchanan, Cécile Fabre, Daniel Halliday, Joseph Heath, Lisa Herzog, R. J. Leland, Ephrem T. Lemango, Florencia Luna, Matthew S. McCoy, Ole F. Norheim, Trygve Ottersen, G. Owen Schaefer, Kok-Chor Tan, Christopher Heath Wellman, Jonathan Wolff, Henry S. Richardson
Science11 Sep 2020 : 1309-1312
The Fair Priority Model offers a practical way to fulfill pledges to distribute vaccines fairly and equitably
Once effective coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines are developed, they will be scarce. This presents the question of how to distribute them fairly across countries. Vaccine allocation among countries raises complex and controversial issues involving public opinion, diplomacy, economics, public health, and other considerations. Nevertheless, many national leaders, international organizations, and vaccine producers recognize that one central factor in this decision-making is ethics (1, 2). Yet little progress has been made toward delineating what constitutes fair international distribution of vaccine. Many have endorsed “equitable distribution of COVID-19…vaccine” without describing a framework or recommendations (3, 4). Two substantive proposals for the international allocation of a COVID-19 vaccine have been advanced, but are seriously flawed. We offer a more ethically defensible and practical proposal for the fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccine: the Fair Priority Model.