Bergen senter for etikk og prioritering (BCEPS)


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Covid Vaccines | Science Magazine

An ethical framework for global vaccine allocation

BCEPS Director Ole Frithjof Norheim contributes to a paper in Science Magazine proposing an ethical framework for global COVID-19 vaccine allocation.

global vaccine allocation
by Morning Brew on Unsplash


This paper by Professor Professor Ezekiel J. Emanuel (Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania) and an international group of philosophers and ethicists proposes a Fair Priority Model that offers a practical way to fulfil pledges to distribute COVID vaccines fairly and equitably amoung countries.

As one of the contributors to this paper, Professor Norheim explains that fair allocation should aim to reduce premature deaths and serious economic and social deprivations, with extra priority to the worst-off countries. This is in contrast to alternative models, discussed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and others, which either allocate a percentage of doses to each country or prioritise countries with high numbers of health personnel and people with a large number of risk factors. This will clearly favour high-income countries, not the disadvantaged.

The full paper (published online on 3 September) is available open access from Science Magazine:

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


Norwegian press article (NRK Vestland):

Går mot WHOs anbefaling – forskere vil gi fattige land større del av koronavaksinen