Public health priority setting: A case for priority to the worse off in well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic

Etikk I Praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics (forthcoming)
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In Norway, priority for health interventions is assigned on the basis of three official criteria: health benefit, resources, and severity. Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have mainly happened through intersectoral public health efforts such as lockdowns, quarantines, information campaigns, social distancing and, more recently, vaccine distribution. The aim of this article is to evaluate potential priority setting criteria for public health interventions. We argue in favour of the following three criteria for public health priority setting: benefit, resources and improving the well-being of the worse off. We argue that benefits and priority to the worse off may reasonably be understood in terms of individual well-being, rather than only health, for public health priority setting. We argue that lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic support our conclusions. Keywords: COVID-19, Prioritarianism, Priority Setting, Public Health, Severity



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Mathias Barra
Akershus University Hospital

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References found in this work

Just Health: Meeting Health Needs Fairly.Norman Daniels - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
Consequentialism.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Well-Being.Roger Crisp - 2017 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
Another Defence of the Priority View.Derek Parfit - 2012 - Utilitas 24 (3):399-440.

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