The moral importance of selecting people randomly

Bioethics 22 (6):321–327 (2008)

Abstract
This article discusses some ethical principles for distributing pandemic influenza vaccine and other indivisible goods. I argue that a number of principles for distributing pandemic influenza vaccine recently adopted by several national governments are morally unacceptable because they put too much emphasis on utilitarian considerations, such as the ability of the individual to contribute to society. Instead, it would be better to distribute vaccine by setting up a lottery. The argument for this view is based on a purely consequentialist account of morality; i.e. an action is right if and only if its outcome is optimal. However, unlike utilitarians I do not believe that alternatives should be ranked strictly according to the amount of happiness or preference satisfaction they bring about. Even a mere chance to get some vaccine matters morally, even if it is never realized.
Keywords lottery  consequentialism  pandemic influenza  utilitarianism  vaccine
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00636.x
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References found in this work BETA

Equality and Priority.Derek Parfit - 1997 - Ratio 10 (3):202–221.
Should the Numbers Count?John M. Taurek - 1977 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 6 (4):293-316.
Saving Lives, Moral Theory, and the Claims of Individuals.Michael Otsuka - 2006 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (2):109–135.
Kamm on Fairness. [REVIEW]John Broome - 1998 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (4):955.
Aggregation and Numbers.Iwao Hirose - 2004 - Utilitas 16 (1):62-79.

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Citations of this work BETA

Planning for and Managing Pandemic Influenza.A. Slowther - 2009 - Clinical Ethics 4 (3):116-118.

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