When a COVID-19 Vaccine Becomes Available, Who Should Get It First?

May 25, 2020

(STAT News) – The ethical challenges that have arisen so far in the coronavirus pandemic largely boil down to the age-old struggle between individual freedoms and the public good. Issues like restricting movement and commerce to protect community health or requiring health care workers to treat infected patients, even at the risk of getting infected themselves, are specific examples of this larger dilemma. These debates, even in the United States where rugged individualism is celebrated, have been settled for the most part in favor of the common good. Ethical questions in the next phase of the pandemic are bound to be more fractious. They will turn from our common goal of maximizing the greater good to brokering disagreements between individual groups that may not be so easy to resolve.