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Ethical Considerations Surrounding Covishield Vaccine Side Effects

Published: 11th May, 2024

Context

The recent acknowledgment by AstraZeneca, the developer and manufacturer of the Covishield Covid vaccine, regarding the possibility of Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) as a side effect has raised significant ethical concerns. This development has prompted a reassessment of the vaccine's safety and efficacy, highlighting complex ethical dilemmas in public health decision-making.

1: Dimension- Ethical Issues Involved

  • Transparency and Informed Consent: A key ethical principle in healthcare is the provision of transparent information to patients to facilitate informed decision-making.
    • AstraZeneca's admission underscores the importance of transparently disclosing potential risks associated with vaccines, ensuring individuals can make informed choices about their health.
  • Risk-Benefit Analysis: Ethical decision-making in public health requires a careful consideration of the balance between risks and benefits.
    • While Covishield has demonstrated efficacy in preventing Covid-19, the emergence of rare side effects like TTS necessitates a reassessment of the vaccine's risk-benefit profile. Policymakers must navigate the ethical dilemma of balancing potential risks against the benefits of vaccination in controlling the pandemic.
  • Equitable Access and Distribution: The ethical principle of justice underscores the importance of equitable access to healthcare resources, including vaccines.
    • Concerns about vaccine safety may exacerbate existing disparities in vaccine uptake, particularly in marginalized communities. Policymakers must ensure equitable distribution of accurate information and vaccine access to mitigate disparities and promote health equity.
  • Trust and Public Confidence: Maintaining public trust in vaccination programs is crucial for achieving high vaccine coverage and controlling the spread of infectious diseases.
    • AstraZeneca's acknowledgment of vaccine side effects underscores the importance of transparent communication in building and sustaining public trust.
    • Ethical considerations dictate that policymakers and healthcare providers address concerns openly and honestly to maintain public confidence in vaccination efforts.

2: Dimension- Required Measures

  • Addressing these ethical challenges requires a collaborative approach involving policymakers, healthcare providers, and the public to ensure informed decision-making, equitable access to vaccines, and sustained confidence in vaccination programs.
  • By upholding ethical principles, stakeholders can navigate these challenges and promote the collective goal of safeguarding public health amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
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