Press Release 08/2020

Who First? Allocation of Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2

On 18 November 2020, the German Ethics Council, together with representatives of other European ethics councils and the WHO, will discuss the various strategies for a fair distribution of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines at national and international level. The event is part of the “Bioethics Forum” series and will be publicly accessible online.

Scientists around the world are working relentlessly to develop vaccines against the new coronavirus and there is hope that one or even several vaccines against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 could be available by the turn of the year. However, it is expected that vaccine doses will initially not be available for all people who wish to be vaccinated. So, what might a fair distribution of scarce vaccines look like nationally and internationally? Which individuals or groups should be vaccinated first? What ethical and legal aspects have to be considered besides medical ones?

In this event from the “Bioethics Forum” series, the German Ethics Council addresses these questions together with international experts. Representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) and of the German Ethics Council will present different strategies. In a concluding panel discussion, the aforementioned experts from international organisations as well as members of several European ethics councils will debate the question of vaccine distribution.

The event will be broadcast as a livestream accessible online via It will be held in English with simultaneous translation into German. The audience is invited to participate in the discussion via a chat. A registration is not required.

A video recording and a transcript of the German translation will be available on this website after the event.