The International Moral dilemma of vaccination

The Covid-19 Pandemic brought many problems and many issues at the national and the international level, much criticism has been brought as to the way the countries had acted in order to counter the health problems related to the Pandemic.

One of such issues is the International Moral dilemma of who must be vaccinated first and who must be vaccinated last. With that there is a point of view that seems to be somewhat for the one side the solidarity and membership to a community, and for the other side, the international solidarity for the just distribution of a vaccine.

These two principles seem to clash one against the other, first world countries had bought millions of vaccines having more than enough for their population. Do they have a right to do it?

The example is quite interesting and we have seen it in legal philosophy courses, as in the moral dilemma of a mother who is confronted with the problem of two kids drowning and has the only chance to save one, the particular characteristic of such problem is that one of her kids is her daughter, the other is an unknown child. Does the mother has the obligation to save both kids, or just her daughter, to whom she has a more direct link, with whom she has loyalties and responsibilities.

As the example above is expressed in the Book Justice, by Michael Sandel

“…to ask if you think there is a third category of obligations–call them obligations of solidarity, or membership–that can’t be explained in contractarian terms. Unlike natural duties, obligations of solidarity are particular, not universal; they involve moral responsibilities we owe, not to rational beings as such, but to those with whom we share a certain history. But unlike voluntary obligations, they do not depend on an act of consent. Their moral weight derives instead from the situated aspect of moral reflections, from a recognition that my life story is implicated in the stories of others.”

On the other side, is the issue as to the undeveloped countries that did not have any type of possibilities either to have a vaccine produced by them, nor the possibility to have adequate means to fight the disease, however, such countries are part of the so-called international society.

A call for the global south was to avoid the “panic buying” and the emptying the shelves for vaccines, yes there is Covax, however it seems to be highly improbable to cover all, there is a further discussion as to how to equilibrate for one side how do we value the vaccine, is it or not a “common good” in the interest of the whole world.

Citing once again Sandel: “Justice is not only about the right way to distribute things. It is also about the right way to value things.”

Finally, if countries that have more than enough relinquish the possibility to help profoundly, especially those countries who wish to export democracy, and fail to help properly and adequately, then how by the example wish to be essentially democratic, without a democratic spirit, without (international) solidarity, even if internally they have their national duties to their own people “…it is a serious question how a democratic society as vast and disparate as ours can hope to cultivate the solidarity and sense of mutual responsibility that a just society requires.” Sandel.

Without a doubt it is a profound problem, how to balance internally the claims for vaccines and the efforts to vaccinate as fast as possible, and as well to be just and solidary towards the international community.

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