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A global redistributive auction for vaccine allocation
  1. Aksel Braanen Sterri1,2,
  2. Peder Skjelbred3
  1. 1Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2University of Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford, UK
  3. 3Wadham College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Aksel Braanen Sterri, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway; akselbst{at}


The global allocation of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic is widely perceived as unfair. Priority was given to countries that paid the most with little or no concern for who needed the vaccines the most. No satisfactory institutions have been established to allocate vaccines in a future pandemic. In this paper, we join reformers in proposing a new scheme for vaccine distribution: a global auction for vaccines where profits are distributed fairly to participating countries. Our proposal improves upon previous suggestions morally by taking countries’ differing valuations of money and vaccines seriously. Since an auction is in the interest of both vaccine manufacturers and high-income countries, it is also politically feasible. A global redistributive auction for vaccines thus promises to be a robust and morally desirable way to allocate vaccines.

  • COVID-19
  • Decision Making
  • Ethics
  • Public Policy
  • Health Care Economics and Organizations

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  • X @AkselSterri

  • Presented at The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, the 13th International Society for Priorities in Health Conference, and the 2023 Global Health & Bioethics International Conference

  • Contributors We have contributed equally to the paper. AS is the guarantor for the work.

  • Funding This study was funded by Norges Forskningsråd (315957).

  • Competing interests None declared.

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