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Medical Monday: Ethics of vaccine distribution

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(WXOW) - Vaccine rollout is underway throughout the country and right here in the Coulee Region.

Tom Harter, Ph.D., of Gundersen Health System, discusses the ethics behind rollout and why it's important to continue in the allocation process rather than allow anyone to get the vaccine right away.

"Patience is key," said Harter. "We are trying to work through as quickly as possible who is getting the vaccine and how we ought to prioritize those folks who are getting the vaccine."

Harter said that Gundersen is concerned about how they distribute the vaccine in a fair way.

With new vaccines coming out, Harter added that there is also concern over effectiveness. The issue comes about when some people ask for a certain type of vaccine. Another concern that Harter says disrupts the process is people traveling to different states in order to get a vaccine.

The medical ethicist noted that the big pillars of vaccine rollout have been focusing on the science, ethics, and feasible implementation. When it comes to distribution, the goal is to make it as fair as possible.

"When we think about what is fair distribution, people who have health conditions, people who don't have the resources to get the vaccine, that the rollout doesn't make things worse off for them," said Harter.

Mike Beiermeister

WXOW Weekend Anchor and Reporter

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