Vaccine Justice


People are quick to criticize their political leaders when they don’t act firmly enough to get more vaccines into the arms of their constituents. I confess I have fallen prey to this weakness too, though I try to avoid this particular sin. Here in Canada, we are now vaccinating very low risk people, like children 12 years of age who have very little (but not none) risk of serious illness from Covid-19.  Partly we say that to justice protecting older people, even those who have been vaccinated once, but even those have a very low risk of serious illness.


Meanwhile in India health care workers on the front line of health services have no vaccine. As a commentator said on CBC radio, “We will have blood on our hands in Canada”.

If we don’t care about global justice—and it does seem like none of us care—perhaps we can care about new variants emerging in places like India which might make our vaunted vaccines less effective or even ineffective. When only about 1% of people in India have been vaccinated that leaves a lot of timber for the virus to work on and mutate into ever more dangerous variants. Should we not be sending vaccines to India for our own good?

Yet most of us, myself included want our second vaccine as soon as possible. Is our government not doing what we really want, just not what we feel good about wanting?

Ethics is complicated. Particularly when the disputants have a personal stake in the outcome of the debate.

Do you feel comfortable? I know I don’t. But so far, I haven’t done anything about it other than to post this blurb. Not much to be proud of.


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