GLIDE Fellows Rachel Gur-Arie and Zeb Jamrozik have co-authored together with Steven R. Kraaijeveld of Wageningen University an Open Letter in Wellcome Open Research, suggesting a unique perspective on the ethics of vaccinating healthy children against COVID-19.
This paper is part of Gur-Arie (Berman Institute of Bioethics) and Jamrozik (Wellcome Centre for Ethics & Humanities)’s ongoing collaboration as inaugural GLIDE fellows. Earlier this year, they published a commentary in BMJ Global Health together with Professor Patricia Kingori on the ethics of COVID-19 vaccine mandates for healthcare personnel.
The Open Letter provides an ethical analysis of COVID-19 vaccination of healthy children and considers benefits, risks, and issues of global health equity.
Specifically, it argues that it is currently unclear whether routine COVID-19 vaccination of healthy children is ethically justified in most contexts, given the minimal direct benefit that COVID-19 vaccination provides to children, the potential for rare risks to outweigh these benefits and undermine vaccine confidence, and substantial evidence that COVID-19 vaccination confers adequate protection to risk groups, such as older adults, without the need to vaccinate children.
The Open Letter concludes that child COVID-19 vaccination in wealthy communities before adults in poor communities worldwide is ethically unacceptable and considers how policy deliberations might evolve in light of future developments.
Gur-Arie R, Kraaijeveld SR and Jamrozik E. An ethical analysis of vaccinating children against COVID-19: benefits, risks, and issues of global health equity [version 1; peer review: 1 approved, 1 approved with reservations]. Wellcome Open Res 2021, 6:252 (https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17234.1)
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