Weighted Lotteries and the Allocation of Scarce Medications for Covid-19

Lynn A. Jansen, Steven Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The allocation of vaccines and therapeutics for Covid-19 obviously raises ethical questions, and physicians and ethicists have begun to address them. Writers have identified various criteria that should guide allocation decisions, but the criteria often conflict and need to be balanced against one another. This article proposes a model for thinking about how different considerations that are relevant to the distribution of vaccines and scarce treatments for Covid-19 could be integrated into an allocation procedure. The model employs the construct of a weighted lottery, which is a construct that has been employed in other contexts that involve the distribution of scarce resources. The article highlights the advantages of applying a weighted lottery to the Covid-19 context and offers an illustration for how it might work in practice. The primary aim of the article is to articulate the structural features of a weighted lottery for this context and to bring out its advantages over other methods for allocating Covid-19 medications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalHastings Center Report
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Keywords

  • Covid-19
  • fairness
  • lotteries
  • proceduralism
  • tiered distribution
  • vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy

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