Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Ethics challenge winner 20212022. The ethics of vaccination in a post-COVID-19 world.pdf (6.85 MB)

Ethics challenge winner 2021/2022. The ethics of vaccination in a post-COVID-19 world

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-22, 13:53 authored by Natalie Mack

At the time of writing, the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has become the dominant strain contributing to COVID-19 cases worldwide. Many global health researchers argue that the emergence of the Omicron variant is a consequence of our inability to vaccinate the world. Vaccine hesitancy and inequity of access to vaccines globally are both substantial barriers to reducing the burden of COVID-19. Vaccination has long been a topic of controversy, and the current pandemic has brought this discussion to centre stage. In attempts to increase vaccine uptake, policymakers or health authorities may implement vaccination mandates when a vaccine-preventable disease is determined to be a considerable threat to the public. Such mandates have long been implemented prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as requirements for children to be up to date on their paediatric vaccinations to attend school, or for healthcare professionals (HCPs) to receive their annual influenza vaccine. Many question whether these mandates are ethically justifiable. This debate is rooted in the fact that reaching population-level immunity to keep communities safe requires the limitation of individual liberties. This analysis will examine vaccine mandates and disclosure of vaccination status in relation to the four principles of biomedical ethics: beneficence; non-maleficence; autonomy; and, justice.



The original article is available at Part of the RCSIsmj collection:

Published Citation

Mack N. Ethics challenge winner 2021/2022. The ethics of vaccination in a post-COVID-19 world. RCSIsmj. 2022;15(1):6-9

Publication Date



  • Undergraduate Research


RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences


  • Published Version (Version of Record)