The Korea Society for Medical Ethics is an academic organization involving professionals from medical education and research institutes such as medicine, nursing, and dentistry. We are an academic organization established to promote the development and national competitiveness of education and research activities in this field and to promote information exchange and friendship among members through researching and educating medical ethics issues. The Korea Journal of Medical Ethics is the official journal of The Korea Society for Medical Ethics, which publishes the contents of 'medical ethics', 'medical ethics education' and 'academic research dealing with ethical, legal, and social aspects of biomedical science'.
Border controls and social distancing have proven effective in containing the spread of COVID-19, but the current pandemic will not end until herd immunity is achieved through the widespread use of vaccines. Given the importance of vaccines in overcoming this global health crisis, and the current imbalance between their supply and demand, ethical questions arise concerning how COVID-19 vaccines should be distributed. This article argues that the guiding objectives for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines should be the reduction of inequality and the maximization of benefits through the use of clear and transparent criteria for vaccine prioritization. Allocating scarce medical resources such as vaccines is a long-term ethical challenge. Only an ethically sound and well-coordinated vaccine distribution plan can ensure fair access for those in need.
Thanks to COVID-19 vaccines that developed earlier than expected, the end of long Coronavirus era seems to be in sight. However, the vaccination news from all across the world tells us that Coronavirus vaccinations are a matter of order, unlike prevention. In particular, right after the French vaccination campaign launched on December 27th, 2020, the confusion and chaos shown in its early stage of the French vaccination campaign require a close examination since their vaccination strategy was based on the ethical value of respect for human dignity. In the initial French vaccination plan, their vaccine prioritization criteria were established based on, first of all, saving lives. They tried to maximize the liberty of the individual by ensuring patient autonomy in its execution. The values that the French vaccination campaign based on were fundamental and universal human values that everyone could agree on. Thus, the confusion shown in the French vaccination campaign raises the following question: “In a crisis like a global pandemic, does emphasizing the universal values only delay or worsen the existing crisis situation?” In this paper, we analyze the initial French vaccination campaign and reveal the underlying ethical assumptions. Then we track the later revisions of the campaign and evaluate them. Finally, we conclude with the answer to the upper mentioned question.
This article explores the social responsibilities of healthcare professionals (HCPs) during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those concerning the stigmatization of individuals and the infringement of privacy. In the context of public health crises like the current COVID-19 pandemic, HCPs have the dual responsibility of respecting the rights and interests of individuals and at the same time protecting and promoting public health. While contact-tracing is considered an essential public health tool, it can conflict with the rights and interests of individuals. Furthermore, the fact that exposure to infectious diseases can lead to social stigmatization and discrimination complicates efforts to protect public health during infectious disease outbreaks. The tension between respecting the rights and interests of individuals and protecting public health requires the careful attention of HCPs. This article argues for the development and implementation of ethical frameworks or models concerning the dual responsibilities of HCPs in the context of infectious disease outbreaks.