The ethical issues raised by the ongoing coronavirus vaccine campaign are concerning.
We would surely consider it outrageous to expect young people to participate in an organ-harvesting campaign (knowing young, healthy people do not need two kidneys or a full-sized liver) in order to benefit the older and sicker among us, yet we expect our young people to take a non-FDA approved biologic in pursuit of that objective. Research hasn’t even yet concluded that the vaccine will prevent coronavirus transmission, just that it seems to prevent severe symptoms (remember that, in unvaccinated people, up to 80% of cases are asymptomatic or show mild symptoms).
A healthy young adult has a greater risk of dying in a car accident on the way to be vaccinated (14 deaths/100,000 people) than he or she does from actually contracting coronavirus (seven deaths/100,000).
The Hippocratic Oath reminds medical providers to “do no harm,” yet there are planned experimental studies on newborns (who are unable to consent) that will certainly be used to encourage immunizing children against a virus that causes negligible symptoms for that age group.
These are complicated issues and, as the old proverb goes: “The devil takes a hand in what is done in haste.” We need to take a slow, careful look at the medical ethics around the vaccine campaign.