Hastings Center Report 51 (2):42-43 (2021)

Govind Persad
University of Denver
In this Correspondence, I argue that given that scarcity has existed both for critical care resources and for vaccines, allocating critical care resources to prioritize the prevention of early COVID-19 deaths (i.e. COVID-19 deaths among younger patients) could valuably counterbalance the disproportionate exclusion of minority patients and those with life shortening disabilities that age-based vaccine allocation produces. Covid-19 deaths early in life have overwhelmingly befallen minorities and people with life-shortening disabilities. Policies preventing early deaths prevent an outcome widely recognized as worse—dying earlier in one’s life rather than later—while counteracting intersecting forms of injustice. Ultimately, prohibiting the use of age as a tiebreaker in critical care allocation, as Brown et al. propose, will worsen disparities and is not mandated by law.
Keywords age  covid-19  health disparities  racial disparities  lifespan  prioritarianism  crisis standards of care  allocation  rationing  distributive justice  vaccines
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DOI 10.1002/hast.1245
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