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While the degree of COVID-19 vaccine accessibility and uptake varies at both national and global levels, increasing vaccination coverage raises questions regarding the standard of prevention that ought to apply to different settings where COVID-19 vaccine trials are hosted. A WHO Expert Group has developed guidance on the ethical implications of conducting placebo-controlled trials in the context of expanding global COVID-19 vaccine coverage. The guidance also considers alternative trial designs to placebo controlled trials in the context of prototype vaccines, modified vaccines, and next generation vaccines.

Original publication






Publication Date





2140 - 2149


Howard College School of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE), Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), Pretoria, South Africa; Department of Clinical Public Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:


Humans, Vaccines, World Health Organization, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 Vaccines