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This article sets forth a solidaristic approach to global distribution of vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Our approach draws inspiration from African ethics and from the characterization of the Covid-19 crisis as a syndemic, a convergence of biosocial forces that interact with one another to produce and exacerbate clinical disease and prognosis. The first section elaborates the twin ideas of syndemic and solidarity. The second section argues that these ideas lend support to global health alliances to distribute vaccines beyond national borders. The third section introduces ethical criteria to guide global distribution, emphasizing priority to low- and middle-income countries, which have the least ability to obtain vaccines on their own. It also justifies giving priority to people at high risk of infection and high risk of severe disease and death.

Original publication





The Hastings Center report

Publication Date





27 - 36


Humans, Health Care Rationing, International Cooperation, Developing Countries, Social Justice, Africa, Syndemic, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 Vaccines