Persuading anti-vaxxers: Stop talking about facts

By Michelle Bach. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the WHO named vaccine hesitancy as one of the top ten threats to global health. The WHO attributes vaccine hesitancy to factors such as a lack of confidence, complacency, and convenience. In the UK, hesitancy has been associated with certain demographic factors such as race, age, and […]

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“I am used to my happy life, not this” – why mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for care home staff is an essential humanitarian and ethical intervention

By Ayesha Ahmad. When traditional healers heal, they empathise with the pain being endured. The traditional healer is distinguished by their strength and ability to channel the suffering through, and beyond, them. What this shows is that there is a distinction between the person who is a healer and the person who is being healed. […]

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Do controlled human infection studies put bystanders at higher risk than conventional field trials?

By Kyungdo Lee and Nir Eyal. A dose-determining study toward the world’s first controlled human infection (abbreviated as CHI) COVID vaccine study has launched in the UK. A COVID vaccine CHI would typically enroll a few dozen young and healthy volunteers, excluding people at higher risk of severe outcomes. After admission to an isolated research […]

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UK COVID-19 human challenge trials need participants. International volunteers are ready to heed the call

By Zacharia Kafuko. Last month, the UK government approved a bold innovation that will take us closer to finally ending the COVID-19 pandemic: human challenge trials, which involve deliberately exposing volunteers to the coronavirus to help researchers study the disease. The first trial began in London in early March, involving up to ninety volunteers. Another trial, which […]

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Should we adopt COVID-19 “immunity passports”?

By Victoria Min-Yi Wang. The COVID-19 pandemic has led the UK to impose lockdown measures that have reduced personal freedoms normally taken for granted in a liberal democracy. This loss of freedoms has been justified because it protects people from contracting COVID-19 and, consequently, prevents overwhelming the NHS. After a year of lockdown measures, and […]

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The vicious circle of precaution

By Ezio Di Nucci. The precautionary principle has been implicitly utilized and explicitly invoked in March of 2020 when many governments introduced restrictions and lockdowns to contain COVID-19. ‘Implicitly utilized’ because the preliminary evidence and modelling those restrictions were based on was a good example of the kinds of problems the precautionary principle is meant […]

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Discrimination on the basis of vaccination status (is inherently wrong)

By Michael Kowalik. The worldwide spread of SARS-CoV-2 has re-invigorated the debate about the ethical permissibility of vaccine mandates and immunity certification. Public attitudes towards this complex issue are nevertheless dominated by fear, half-truths and ungrounded value-judgements, limiting the scope of rational deliberation in favour of ideological partisanship. My paper, ‘Ethics of Vaccine Refusal’, is […]

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Self-experimentation with vaccines

By Jonathan Pugh, Dominic Wilkinson and Julian Savulescu. A group of citizen scientists has launched a non-profit, non-commercial organisation named ‘RaDVaC’, which aims to rapidly develop, produce, and self-administer an intranasally delivered COVID-19 vaccine. As an open source project, a white paper detailing RaDVaC’s vaccine rationale, design, materials, protocols, and testing is freely available online. […]

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Altered vaccination schedules and informed consent

By Jennifer O’Neill. According to the General Medical Council (GMC) publication Good Medical Practice, medical treatments should be provided “…based on the best available evidence” with a favourable balance between benefit and risk. Legal principles of informed consent and shared decision-making recognise the patient’s right to be informed of the risk-benefit profile of a treatment […]

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