I volunteered for a Covid vaccine. Now I'm not so sure about it
In May, I volunteered to be deliberately exposed to the coronavirus to quickly test vaccines in a potential “human challenge trial”. I am not alone: more than 37,000 people from 162 countries have volunteered through 1 Day Sooner, a non-profit advocating on behalf of these volunteers. The risks in such a trial are real and uncertain, but I felt ethically compelled to take that risk if it could save others.
But now, I’m having second thoughts.
I am willing to risk my life so that vulnerable populations across the globe can be protected, but not to make pharma shareholders rich or to produce a vaccine only available to US citizens. The US decision to not join Covax, a multilateral effort to ensure that the vaccine is fairly distributed worldwide, places corporate greed and vaccine nationalism over the needs of people.
I cannot speak for other volunteers, but I suspect they might feel the same: I would refuse to participate in a human challenge trial if the eventual vaccine wasn’t made available to everyone, everywhere. And because vaccines are impossible without potential trial participants, we can demand a better vaccine process for everyone, not just for Covid-19, but for the future. We can refuse to risk our health unless a vaccine is accessible to everyone.
As it stands, Covax is deeply flawed. The plan currently provides universal vaccine access only to wealthy countries, lines the pockets of pharma executives, and dictates terms to poorer nations while falling short of providing the number of ...
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