About / Vaccine

WHO Vaccine Equity Project

The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility aims to speed up the development, manufacturing, and distribution of new vaccines but is not the only proposal for ethical allocation on the table. This project considers how we can improve existing proposals for equitable vaccine allocation that have overlooked three crucial equity claims. First, we believe it is imperative to encourage international organizations, such as the WHO to focus on individuals, rather than nations, as the main stakeholders in debates about ethical distribution. Individuals suffer health problems, countries do not. Second, ethical distribution requires focusing on what happens with the vaccines within as well as between countries. We believe that even though distribution should not be conditional on good governance, distributors should work towards creative solutions to reach people everywhere including the most vulnerable and marginalized. Third, while ethical vaccine allocation is paramount, actual vaccine distribution will determine the success of whatever strategy is adopted. Efforts must also be geared towards maximizing vaccine production, distribution, and consumption. In short, we believe ethical vaccine allocation requires combating scarcity and expanding access to new vaccines and overcoming the fundamental barriers to access rather than just shifting resources around.


Nicole Hassoun

Nicole Hassoun is a professor at Binghamton University. She has published widely on ethical issues in health resource allocation with more than seventy papers in top ethics, economics, and public health journals including the American Philosophical Quarterly, Journal of Development Economics, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, PLoS One and the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. She is well positioned to lead this project as she also heads the Global Health Impact Project, an organization intended to extend access to medicines to the global poor (https://globalhealth.pythonanywhere.com/). Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, she has published extensively on the need to ensure equitable access to life saving medicines, and how to ensure the equitable distribution of resources.

Jennifer E. Miller

Jennifer E. Miller, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Yale School of Medicine Dr. Miller's research explores the ethics of healthcare innovation, particularly how drugs are researched, developed, marketed, priced and made accessible to patients domestically and globally. She also works on the ethics of big data in healthcare, including informed consent, data-sharing, and ownership concerns. Dr. Miller founded the nonprofit Bioethics International, an organization that sets standards, ranks, and audits pharmaceutical companies and products on these standards. and Director of the Good Pharma Scorecard initiative, an index that ranks new drugs and pharmaceutical companies on their ethics and patient-centricity performance.

Dr. Anders Herlitz

Dr. Anders Herlitz is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Futures Studies and Associate professor in Practical Philosophy at Stockholm University. Before moving to Stockholm, he was affiliated with Harvard University, and prior to that, held a Marie Curie fellowship at Rutgers University and the University of Gothenburg. Dr. Herlitz's research concerns how to make justified choices when the alternative options are seemingly incomparable, what principles should be applied to evaluate different distributions of goods in diverse populations, and the relationship between principles and justified choice. He has a special interest in these issues in the context of healthcare and distribution of healthcare.

Dr. Zohar Lenderman

Dr. Zohar Lederman is a medical doctor and has received his Ph.D. in Bioethics at the National University of Singapore. Dr. Lederman was previously a visiting scholar at the Yale University Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics. Moreover, he was a collaborator and consultant on a Communicable Diseases Public Health Research Grant (CD-PHRG), entitled: “One Health and Pandemic Planning: Creating a Bioethics Framework in Singapore.



Against Vaccine Nationalism:

Just allocation of COVID-19 vaccines:

Equity and Vaccine Allocation


Coronavirus: How do you vaccinate 7.7 billion people?

Covid-19 defeats US Marines

How joining vaccine initiative Covax could be shot in the arm for China

Bioethicist: Why the UK is getting vaccine distribution right and the US is not

Could Venues and Airlines Require Covid-19 Vaccinations for Entry?

How Do You Decide Who Gets A Potentially Life-Saving Vaccine First?

How to Fix the Orphan Drug Problem Driving up Medical Costs

How India’s Serum Institute became a COVID-19 Vaccine Powerhouse

Commentary: Our Focus On COVID Risks a Resurgence of Other Diseases

The Price of a Drug Should be Based on its Therapeutic Benefits – Not Just What the Market Will Bear

Why COVID-19 vaccine distribution methods fall short and 3 ways to improve them

Researchers shed light on why COVID-19 vaccine distribution methods fall short, 3 ways to improve them

3 ways to improve Covid-19 vaccine distribution methods, suggest researchers

As Predicted: Immunity Passports Are No Longer A Fantasy

Vaccine Hoarding Could Make The Pandemic Drag on an Extra 7 Years

Is It Ethical To Travel Internationally Before The World Is Vaccinated?

Why You Shouldn’t Travel Abroad Anytime Soon, Even If It Seems OK

Vaccine Passports, Covid’s Next Political Flash Point

‘Immunity passports’ for COVID-19 must be distributed equitably

How will Canada (and the world) use immunity passports?

How to Make ‘Immunity Passports’ More Ethical

Team of BU Researchers Say Global Vaccine Distribution Effort Needs Improvement

Vaccine (Inter)Nationalism: Global Equity and COVID-19 Vaccines

Researchers shed light on why COVID vaccine distribution methods fall short

How Do You Decide Who Gets A Potentially Life-Saving Vaccine First?

BN/ Shooting at Atlanta & Vaccine Nationalism

Biden's vaccine diplomacy embraces global solidarity

COVID-19: How do we fight vaccine inequality?

The most important meeting yet for global pandemic response—and drugmakers

Getting a COVID booster shot is a 'difficult choice' for many people, health tech advocate says

Cited in: “Vaccine Ethics: What Are We Learning from COVID-19?” Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, 3 December, 2020. https://www.carnegiecouncil.org/calendar/data/2020-12-03-vaccine-ethics-covid-19

Cited in: “More Than 46.2 Million Shots Given: Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker The U.S. has administered 15.6 million doses; Europe’s rollout begins.” Bloomberg. 19 January.

“Global Solidarity and Vaccine Allocation” https://www.haaretz.co.il/health/.premium-1.9153855



From November 21st to March 21st, we aim to produce five podcast episodes hosted by Dr. Nicole Hassoun, whose participants will be bioethicists and ethicists including Drs. Anders Herlitz, Zohar Lederman, and Jennifer Miller.

For more information on the talk is the best medicine series, see: