The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' Ethical Principles for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine - United States, 2020.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Nov 27; 69(47):1782-1786.MM
To reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its associated impacts on health and society, COVID-19 vaccines are essential. The U.S. government is working to produce and deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the entire U.S. population. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)* has broadly outlined its approach for developing recommendations for the use of each COVID-19 vaccine authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization or licensure (1). ACIP's recommendation process includes an explicit and transparent evidence-based method for assessing a vaccine's safety and efficacy as well as consideration of other factors, including implementation (2). Because the initial supply of vaccine will likely be limited, ACIP will also recommend which groups should receive the earliest allocations of vaccine. The ACIP COVID-19 Vaccines Work Group and consultants with expertise in ethics and health equity considered external expert committee reports and published literature and deliberated the ethical issues associated with COVID-19 vaccine allocation decisions. The purpose of this report is to describe the four ethical principles that will assist ACIP in formulating recommendations for the allocation of COVID-19 vaccine while supply is limited, in addition to scientific data and implementation feasibility: 1) maximize benefits and minimize harms; 2) promote justice; 3) mitigate health inequities; and 4) promote transparency. These principles can also aid state, tribal, local, and territorial public health authorities as they develop vaccine implementation strategies within their own communities based on ACIP recommendations.