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A focused protection vaccination strategy: why we should not target children with COVID-19 vaccination policies
  1. Alberto Giubilini1,
  2. Sunetra Gupta2,
  3. Carl Heneghan3
  1. 1 Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2 Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  3. 3 Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alberto Giubilini, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford, Oxford Ox1 1PT, UK; alberto.giubilini{at}

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Cameron et al’s1 ethical considerations about the ‘Dualism of Values’ in pandemic response emphasise the need to strike a fair balance between the interests of the less vulnerable to COVID-19 (most notably, their freedom) and the interests of the more vulnerable (most notably, their protection from COVID-19). Those considerations are at the basis of ethical defences of focused protection strategies.2 One example is the proposal put forward in the Great Barrington Declaration. It presented focused protection strategies as more ethical alternatives to lockdowns which would prevent lockdowns’ ‘irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed’.3

Here we want to suggest that a version of Cameron et al’s analysis can be applied to the case of vaccines to support a focused protection vaccination strategy. At this stage, we should limit vaccination to the vulnerable and not target children (and possibly other young people) in COVID-19 vaccination strategies.

We argue that, given the current state of knowledge about COVID-19, immunity and vaccines, it would be wrong to pose the costs and risks of vaccines on children for three reasons. First, they are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination …

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  • Funding AG's work was funded by the Wellcome Trust through the grant WT 203132/Z/16/Z

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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