health

Experts spar over ethical question: Should we be paid to get COVID-19 shots?

15 Comments
By Kate Kelland

A suggestion by an ethics professor at a leading UK university that governments should pay citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has sparked debate over whether such incentives are ethical, or dangerous, and would boost or limit uptake.

Arguing that governments should consider a "pay for risk" approach to encourage their populations to have COVID-19 shots when they become available, Julian Savulescu, a professor at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford University, said it would allow people to make an informed choice

"'Anti-vaxxers' may never be convinced to change their stance, but incentivising vaccination may persuade others who might not have done so to get the jab," he wrote in an article in the BMJ British Medical Journal.

"The advantage of payment for risk is that people are choosing voluntarily to take it on. As long as we are accurate in conveying ... the risks and benefits of a vaccine, then it is up to individuals to judge whether they are worth payment."

With scores of potential COVID-19 vaccines in development, and a few expected to be ready for regulatory approval and possible deployment as early as next month, public health authorities are considering ways of addressing varying levels of vaccine confidence and hesitancy around the world.

Preliminary results of a survey conducted in 19 countries over the three months to August showed that only about 70% of British and U.S. respondents would get a COVID-19 vaccine. That echoed findings in May of a Reuters/Ipsos poll that found a quarter of Americans had little or no interest in taking a vaccine against pandemic disease.

Savulescu noted precedents for payment for "civic duty": Blood donations are paid for in several countries, he wrote.

But other experts cautioned strongly against offering financial incentives.

"Paying people to get vaccinated would set a very dangerous precedent," said Keith Neal, an emeritus professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Nottingham University.

"Social media falsehoods would have a field day suggesting it can't be safe if you need to be paid to have it."

When it comes to routine childhood vaccines - such as those against contagious diseases like measles - the World Health Organization says that making them mandatory is one of the best ways to boost coverage rates. But policies that incentivise or make vaccinations compulsory for adults are rare.

Helen Bedford, a professor of child public health at University College London, said the idea was "ill-thought-out and potentially counter-productive".

"Apart from flu vaccine for healthcare workers there is little experience globally of mandating vaccines for adults, and even less experience of providing incentives," she said.

She said a better investment would be in encouraging uptake of COVID vaccines with "full and transparent communication".

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

15 Comments
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It would be much more sensible, productive and maybe efficient to invest that money in educating the public about the lies and misleading arguments that antivaxxers keep on repeating to make other people fall for the same mistakes. It would be also much less troublesome ethically speaking.

Correct and detailed information about vaccines is readily available, and the invalid arguments of the extremists are all easy to debunk from multiple sources of the internet.

Irrational people that will never accept the benefits of vaccination are not going to be convinced by neither money or logical arguments, but the people that are exposed to their wrong information and become unnecessarily anxious about it can be informed correctly and that will reduce their hesitancy.

There is no need to invent new problematic measures to solve a problem when there are already something that can work if only the necessary funds are approved.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

When the vaccination begins in the UK it will become freely available for all the people. People should not be paid. No one should be forced against their will to be vaccinated.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

I see they are realizing that more and more people are no longer falling for the vaccination ponzi scheme, and they worry about their profits.

educating the public about the lies and misleading arguments that antivaxxers

Oh, you mean increasing the propaganda. All the so-called "anti-vaxxers" want is to have an open discussion of the side-effects of vaccines. What we have instead is censorship of critical views; that is a very bad sign. Also, conflicts of interest of decision makers should be made clear.

I do not trust any information from someone who is insincere, dishonest, and has a conflict of interest, regardless of how often they say that something is "safe and effective".

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Dont pay people, but don't give pharmaceutical companies exemptions against damages.

Allow people to sue vaccine makers in court with a juror of normal, every citizens for uncapped damages.

If they aare so safe, then producers don't need protection from lawsuits.

I think this would lend towards the credibility of their safety.

No one should be forced to take them though.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Oh, you mean increasing the propaganda.

No, that would be the antivaxxer dream, with misleading information, cherry picked portions of data out of context or frank lies to try and convince people that are still rational that the world is worse with vaccines than without them.

There is a reason why no single professional association of health workers in the world support the antivaxxer agenda. People that actually dedicate their lives to the health of the public and have to study long years to understand the scientific information are not all wrong.

You have brought here as "proof" information coming from convicted fraudsters, people that believe diseases are caused by demons, people conducting unethical humans experimentation and other very dishonest sources of mistakes and lies, that would demonstrate your last sentence as false.

Allow people to sue vaccine makers in court with a juror of normal, every citizens for uncapped damages.

That would be counterproductive for the people. Both in general and those that want to claim damages.

The current system works by giving compensation to people even if there is only a strong suspicion of being related to the vaccine, and at the same time companies are kept under constant testing and vigilance to make sure they are producing a safe and effective vaccine or else they are punished.

If every citizen is free to sue they will have to prove not that the vaccines may be the source of the damage, but that no other reason is possible, a much more difficult hurdle that in many cases is actually impossible to prove. If a company is forced to lose money from the legal costs of defending against all those lawsuits there is no point in putting the vaccine in the market in the first place, and a safe and effective health measure would be wasted for a terribly unbalanced legal system.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@CharlieGreenspan

I will take the vaccine before you if i don't get any side effect from it then you will know it is safe.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I should calculate how much costed me the hospitals and medical treatments for the past 20 years, after a vaccination resulting in injury/ disability.

People must get educated of the possible long term side effects, of such irreversible medical intervention.

Genuine informed consent and free choice must be the way to act

Also , a vaccination is supposed to be preventive.

cv19 has been around since most likely September 2019

it is not unreasonable to deduct that everyone is already infected and most have already developed antibody to it

FEAR should NEVER determine our life choices

0 ( +1 / -1 )

it is not unreasonable to deduct that everyone is already infected and most have already developed antibody to it

Yes it is. It's not anything any scientists are saying, that's for sure.

But I guess an anonymous internet poster has more credibility than science. Carry on.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

it is not unreasonable to deduct that everyone is already infected and most have already developed antibody to it

Completely unreasonable. About ten million in the US out of a population of 330 million have contracted Covid-19. Even if three times that many people actually were infected but not officially diagnoses that is only 10% of the US population. Now extrapolate the current 241 thousand known Covid-1'9 deaths in the US and you see why no rational human wants to just do nothing and let this virus run its course.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I see they are realizing that more and more people are no longer falling for the vaccination ponzi scheme, and they worry about their profits.

By all means you and those of your disposition should not get vaccinated.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Oh, you mean increasing the propaganda. All the so-called "anti-vaxxers" want is to have an open discussion of the side-effects of vaccines.

The open discussion happened. The research anti vaxxers cite was shown to be a fabrication but the anti vax crowd won't listen to the truth.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

People must get educated of the possible long term side effects, of such irreversible medical intervention.

Genuine informed consent and free choice must be the way to act

Sure, that is how it is done, but if you want to include every single thing that may happen after a vaccine you have also to include what may happen after getting infected, which at this point includes permanent brain and heart damage, endocrine problems, cancer and a very long etc.

The most important part of the informed consent is that a vaccine means less risk than the natural infection. It will not protect you from everything else that may happen to you (which is what makes your compilation of problems meaningless) but it will lower very importantly the risk of the infection it is meant to prevent.

it is not unreasonable to deduct that everyone is already infected and most have already developed antibody to it

The problem is that antibodies drop very quickly, so that would not mean the person is protected. We need more studies to be able to find a good surrogate for protection in order to be able to say if someone is or not protected. At this point we have the data from the vaccine candidates volunteers and a tiny fragment of the infected population, but that is not enough to generalize it. It is also important to remember again that just because someone recovered from the acute infection it does not mean he is free from long term problems that could appear years from now.

If someone already infected wants to abstain from the vaccine it is fine, but there is nothing illogical in wanting to be vaccinated anyway to be sure instead of spending quite some money for a T cell reactivity characterization test to be sure of being protected at least in the medium term. Taking in account the requirements of safety for any approved vaccine the risk of being vaccinated can be offset just by the convenience of having an easy proof of immunity.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

it is not unreasonable to deduct that everyone is already infected and most have already developed antibody to it

Not everyone, but many certainly have been.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Oh, you mean increasing the propaganda. All the so-called "anti-vaxxers" want is to have an open discussion of the side-effects of vaccines

Only on their own terms, which are ludicrous.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well I guess if they don’t want to take it they’ll get sick and the ones that have been vaccinated won’t . That’s fine their problem. Countries and airlines will probably insist in travellers being vaccinated so they won’t be able to travel . Again not my problem . They’ll miss out ....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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