Although the Canadian Olympic Committee has made it clear that it has no intention of claiming any rights, the IOC has publicly expressed its desire for athletes around the world to be vaccinated before sports.
What are the ethical questions raised by such a perspective?
Interview with Julie Saint-Pierre, Ethics Adviser at the Institute National de Santa Public du Quebec.
Q) How do you approach this kind of scenario from a moral perspective?
A) Questions are brought back a lot to the values that cause the problem. We try to see what the values appear to be and try to define how each of these values is expressed, because a value can have many meanings depending on the situation.
Then, we maintain these values, which lead to making recommendations.
Q. What is the important value in prioritizing athletes ’vaccinations for the Olympics?
A) It really does provide equity issues. That is obvious. The vaccine sequence, when the protocol is established, is now displayed when athletes are not placed first in this order. Healthy young people should be vaccinated much later in this order.
Although there is an argument that athletes do so by privately purchasing doses, even from that argument, it causes many equity issues.
There is a problem in giving the dose to those who need it first. There is an example created for those who cannot definitely benefit from it. Only a person of the same age, who should go to work and the vaccine will give him some resemblance to normal life. There are many questions from:
Why are they better than us?
Q) Can this be justified?
A) I don’t think we are in a high risk environment. Whether we are talking about amateur sport or professional sport, we are in an environment where risk can be measured. In the NHL, for example, they did it with balloons. It is more responsible right now to think about such situations.
Of course, with specific access to the vaccine, it makes it a lot easier, but I think they have to convince the world population that it is justifiable. In my opinion, at the moment it does not exist.
A little further in this order, when a good majority of the population is vaccinated, it may become more conceivable.
Q) Are there other factors to consider?
A) We also deal with global questions when we talk about the Olympic Games. They are from different countries where the scenes where there is no single access to the vaccine are different. For example, an athlete from Ghana was vaccinated while he was there. Access is not the same, or the order is not the same. So, in a case like this, to equate inequalities between countries, would it be logical and almost fair, on the contrary, to say that we have vaccines for people who do not have them? Is it in their country?
After all, in the coming months, vaccination will be an authority. These athletes will be vaccinated to take part in sports, but after that, they are still going to be vaccinated, so they are going to get their lives back, and they will become some people who have social rights when they are vaccinated.
It gives access to things that others do not have access to and for some time, we have two categories of citizens. It adds a layer to that fun that is a little more affordable by choosing to vaccinate people on the basis that it facilitates an event.
We know there is a lot of money in this, but morally speaking, it’s hard to justify.