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Medical ethics scholar: the promotion of vaccine policy must build public trust and should not restrict personal freedom too much

2021-05-09T20:39:35.238Z

In order to encourage citizens to be vaccinated, the government has introduced a number of measures, including the introduction of a "tourist bubble" with Singapore on the condition of vaccination, and the ability of restaurants to extend dining hours and relax the number of people per table. Hong Kong University Medical Ethics



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Author: Zheng Qiuling

2021-05-08 10:56

The last update date: 2021-05-08 10:56

In order to encourage citizens to be vaccinated, the government has introduced a number of measures, including the introduction of a "tourist bubble" with Singapore on the condition of vaccination, and the ability of restaurants to extend dining hours and relax the number of people per table.

He Weilun, Director of the Research Center for Medical Ethics and Law of the University of Hong Kong, stated in the Hong Kong Letter from Hong Kong and Taiwan this morning (8th) that the government should try its best to persuade all eligible people to vaccinate, clearly explain the reasons, and frequently re-evaluate the vaccine. Vaccination policies are very important to build public trust. Transparency and accountability in the decision-making process are very important. At the same time, human rights obligations should be respected, and individual freedom should not be excessively restricted to ensure that public health goals are still necessary and proportionate.

He Weilun said that the WHO has put forward six ethical principles and considerations to guide when to implement new crown vaccination. It should only be implemented to achieve important public health goals, including socio-economic goals, but the principle of necessity and proportionality must be considered. Any compulsory measures should also be proportional to public health goals."

He Weilun pointed out that "from an ethical point of view, it is unreasonable to force people to vaccinate." The government should try to convince all eligible people to vaccinate. "If the persuasion is ineffective and the vaccination rate is low and the public health goal cannot be achieved, then Then we can consider compulsory vaccination to achieve the goal of public health.” But the government should clearly explain the reasons and respond to people’s reasonable concerns. “It is important to note that there should not be too many restrictions on personal freedom.” He believes that it should be repeated frequently. Evaluate vaccination policies to ensure that they are still necessary and proportionate to achieve public health goals.

Transparency in the decision-making process and accountability are important

He Weilun pointed out that building public trust is very important.

In particular, policymakers have the responsibility to carefully consider the impact of mandatory vaccination on public confidence and public trust. If policies threaten public trust, it may affect the use of vaccines and compliance with other important public health measures. Therefore, in the decision-making process Transparency and accountability are important, and human rights obligations should be respected so that disadvantaged groups will not be unfairly discriminated against.

Regarding the "tourism bubble" in Hong Kong and Singapore, He Weilun is concerned and considers ethical principles, including insufficient evidence to prove that vaccines are sufficiently safe, time-effective and effective to limit transmission and countermeasures, as well as variant viruses, and whether the supply of vaccines is sufficient, such as rich countries. It is possible to travel, but poor countries cannot travel fair or not. "Then it is impossible to meet the requirements of necessity and proportionality, gain public trust or ensure legitimacy if vaccinations are compulsory for air travel."

He pointed out that in principle, the WHO currently does not support forcing individuals to vaccinate against the new crown, but the current "travel bubble" only involves two cities.

Both Hong Kong and Singapore have sufficient vaccines. In addition, the "travel bubble" aims to promote leisure travel, so no one should be forced to vaccinate.

"In fact, the Hong Kong government encourages healthy residents to be vaccinated as soon as possible to better protect themselves against the virus when traveling."

▼Starting from April 29, the social distancing measures will be relaxed with the vaccine bubble frame▼

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Source: hk1

All news articles on 2021-05-09

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