In the wake of yesterday’s announcement that all adults in Wisconsin will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting next week, WORT producer Jade Iseri-Ramos hosts a discussion of vaccine allocation ethics with Paul Kelleher, professor of bioethics and philosophy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Paul co-chairs the Advisory Committee for UW–Madison’s University Health Services, serves on the UW Hospital Ethics Committee, and has served on two state-level committees concerned with the allocation of scarce COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
He and Jade spend the hour talking about balancing a shots-in-arms approach with ethical decision-making about priority groups, including Wisconsin’s controversial decision to expand the priority group to include age 65+ rather than taking a place-based approach to vaccinate marginalized communities first, as Milwaukee has recently implemented with their zip code–based prioritized scheduling program.
Other topics include the U.S.’s stockpile and global vaccine equity, the ethics of patenting vaccines, overcoming vaccine hesitancy, and the important dimension of mental health and social well-being as we navigate this stage of the pandemic.
Paul Kelleher is associate professor in the Department of Medical History & Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he holds a joint appointment in the Department of Philosophy. He works in areas of applied ethics and political philosophy that have a bearing on health policy. His specific research interests include public health ethics, climate change ethics and economics, justice and health care, and rationing/priority-setting.