Conceptualising an ethics framework for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among healthcare personnel
Healthcare personnel (HCP) are key communicators of vaccine information to the general public, yet hesitancy among these professionals towards COVID-19 vaccines is growing. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among HCP, which is characterised by uncertainty and lived experiences on the frontlines of the pandemic, can pose a significant challenge to COVID-19 vaccine uptake.
Vaccine hesitancy among HCP does not arise in a vacuum of professionalism - it is moulded at the intersection of personal, professional, and societal influences. The COVID-19 pandemic has sharpened the need for further defining the ethical dimensions of this under-explored intersectional space as it relates to negotiating vaccine hesitancy and the responsibilities of healthcare personnel.
In this project, we utilise conceptual and deliberative methods to inform the development of an ethics framework regarding vaccine hesitancy among HCP, including mapping and categorising data; identifying and naming concepts; deconstructing, categorising, and integrating concepts; synthesising and resynthesising materials; and active validation.
This ethics framework is aimed at policymakers and professional societies involved in articulating and enforcing vaccine norms among HCP across health systems. We address ethical tensions that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated, like uncertainty, disagreement regarding HCP obligations to the public, and unclear institutional responsibilities towards public health. Though this work is based on HCP hesitancy towards COVID-19 vaccines, it intends to draw out constructs relevant to considering the ethics of vaccine decision making broadly.
- Rachel Gur-Arie Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University, USA
- Euzebiusz Jamrozik Ethox Centre, University of Oxford, UK
- Patricia Kingori Ethox Centre, University of Oxford, UK
- Rupali Limaye Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, USA
- Joseph Ali Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University, USA