Fair and equitable access to COVID-19 treatments and vaccines

Policy Briefing

Published 29/05/2020

This rapid policy briefing highlights the key challenges for policy makers, regulatory bodies, industry, and research institutions to ensure fair and equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
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An ethical compass

Our recent report on the ethics of research in global health emergencies sets out an ‘ethical compass’ made up of three very widely shared values:

  • Equal respect: treating others as moral equals, including respecting their dignity, humanity and human rights.
  • Helping reduce suffering: acting in accordance with fundamental duties, founded on solidarity and humanity, to help those in need or suffering from disease.
  • Fairness: including both duties of non-discrimination in the treatment of others, and of the equitable distribution of benefits and burdens.

The compass aims to inform policy approaches and help provide a common language and way of thinking through ethical dilemmas arising in research in health emergencies. It is similarly valuable in thinking through the ethical challenges of equitable access, and has informed the discussion that follows on factors that might affect access to treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

Ethical compass diagram

An ethical compass