COVID-19 Vaccine Ethics
Following the outbreak of coronavirus, many countries in the world have been working to find a cure for the virus. So far, no cure for the novel virus has been found. Still, no specific treatment has been established. Physicians have been treating the various symptoms of this disease rather than the disease itself. Certainly, Coronavirus is a deadly disease. The mortality rate resulting from it is very high. Its outbreak has caused a global pandemic. This has destroyed the economy and social lives globally. In light of this, the world is a dire need for a solution for this disease. This is a challenge for scientists and medical researchers. The United States has already commenced studies to develop a vaccine for coronavirus. This vaccine will boost the immunity of people so that they cannot contract the coronavirus. Many countries and industries are competing with the U.S. in the production of this vaccine. The process of developing a vaccine is not that easy. It is something that may take 6 months or more. Thus, more resources and personnel are required. More importantly, biomedical ethics should be strictly followed.
Once the vaccines have been developed, they must be tested. The vaccine testing will be done on humans. This is because the novel virus is a threat to humans and not animals. In other words, coronavirus is a human disease as opposed to an animal disease. In this regard, humans will be the primary subjects in the testing of the Coronavirus vaccine (Caplan, 2020). Essentially, testing the vaccine involves infecting the subjects with the deadly virus, and then injecting them with the potential vaccine. Subsequently, the results are obtained by observing their progress. This is quite risky because it involves taking chances of human lives. The potential, the virus may either work or fail. If it works, the human subject will be on a safer side. However, if it doesn’t work, the human subject will be in danger. In this regard, it is advisable to do the trials in several phases. In the first phase, scientists should use animal subjects. In the second phase, the lowest number possible of human subjects should be used (Caplan, 2020). If the trial will not have adverse effects, the number can be increased in the subsequent tests. Nonetheless, participation in these trials should be voluntary. No person should be coerced to participate in vaccine trials.
There has been a controversy about where the potential vaccine will be tried. Some people have been suggesting that the vaccine trials should be done in low and middle economy countries. Most of the vaccines that have been developed in the past have been tested in these countries (Caplan, 2020). Ethically, this is not right. Distribution of risks should be considered. Given the seriousness of this disease, the high-income countries are the best to have the vaccine tried there. These countries have good healthcare infrastructure than low-income countries. With this, they can be able to administer rescue therapy on human subjects should the potential vaccine have adverse effects on them.
In the face of this novel virus, the whole world is waiting for a vaccine. This will help to reduce the mortality rate that is rapidly increasing. More so, it will help to restore the economy of the world to its feet. Nonetheless, the development of a vaccine requires researchers to follow biomedical ethics. This is especially when carrying out the vaccine trials.
Caplan, A. (May 2020). Ethics Talk: Vaccine Ethics and the Novel Coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/podcast/ethics-talk-vaccine-ethics-and-novel-coronavirus-or-sars-cov-2.