It’s hard to remember what normal life feels like, but for the first time since the start of the pandemic, there are reasons to be optimistic about when we might return to it. It looks increasingly likely that by the New Year at least one highly-effective Covid vaccine will be available. Despite this promising news, any new vaccines will be rationed, cost money and carry some degree of risk. This prompts a number of ethical and moral considerations. For some, this as a matter of global justice; they believe it would be immoral and counterproductive to distribute a vaccine on the basis of whichever countries have the biggest pockets. Others think it’s perfectly reasonable for any state to prioritise the health of its own citizens, particularly the vulnerable. There are those who have concerns about the speed of the vaccine trials, and believe that if we’re going to inoculate billions of people, many of whom are asymptomatic or unaffected, we’ve got to make sure we’re not cutting corners and causing harm. While, for others, normal rules shouldn’t apply during a crisis, and the faster you can get the vaccines out, the better. And what about those who refuse a Covid jab? There have been calls for emergency laws to stamp out anti-vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories online. Last year, NHS chief Simon Stevens warned that large numbers of parents rejecting vaccines for their children was a "growing public health time bomb". Is there a moral case for compulsory vaccination? Or is it an unjustifiable infringement on civil liberties and parental rights? With Prof Helen Bedford, Matthew Lynn, Dr Julian Sheather and Prof Tom Solomon.
Producer: Dan Tierney.
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