With the world grappling with continued spread of monkeypox internationally, vaccines play a crucial role in mitigating the harms from infection and preventing spread. However, countries with the greatest need - particularly historically endemic countries with the highest monkeypox case-fatality rates - are not able to acquire scarce vaccines. This is unjust, and requires rectification through equitable allocation of vaccines globally. We propose applying the Fair Priority Model for such allocation, which emphasizes three key principles: 1) preventing harm; 2) prioritizing the disadvantaged; and 3) treating people with equal moral concern. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEPV) has the most potential to mitigate harm, and so ensuring countries have sufficient supply for PEPV should be the first priority. And historically endemic countries, which face disadvantages that compound potential harms from monkeypox, should be the first recipients of such vaccines. Once sufficient supply is allocated for countries to apply PEPV, global allocation could move on to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), again prioritizing historically endemic countries first before distribution to the rest of the global community, based on projected number of cases and vulnerability to harm.
Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.