Ethics of COVID-19 vaccine mandates: learning from past experiences of pandemic in Tanzania

Ludovick Jacob Myumbo
Department of Sociology, St. Augustine University of Tanzania, Tanzania.



Response to pandemics raises many pressing ethical issues, but key among them is the fundamental question on whether and how far the public health policy should guarantee the community health without the infringement of the individual freedom. This study used a phenomenological design to articulates the ethical issues surrounding COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Tanzania. The goal was to recreate pandemic experiences and learn from it so as to best prepare ourselves for future pandemics. One important lesson about vaccine mandates is to recognize value pluralism and not to reduce all things that matter to either a single or only two values, say consequential or deontological values. This implies that not only several values have roles to play in public health decisions, but also that some values are not reducible to a common super-value when considering policy options.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine mandates, ethics, lived experiences, value pluralism


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