In episode 15, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks to Professor Lynn Gillam. Lynn is a clinical ethicist who trained in philosophy and bioethics. She is a Professor in the Centre for Health Equity, in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne; and the Academic Director of The Children’s Bioethics Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The Children’s Bioethics Centre provides support including ethical decision making for clinicians in relation to patient care issues. Nigel and Lynn will discuss some of the ethical issues raised in the setting of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, utilising a framework of points raised by Dr John Lantos from the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, USA, at the recent Bioethics E-Conference hosted by The Children’s Bioethics Centre:

  • The importance of realising that not doing something or not conducting research is a decision in itself
  • The notion of “too fast can’t be safe” – some steps need to take the time they have always taken, some things can be done more quickly, recognising that if you do nothing, you are allowing harm to happen
  • The role of ethical boards and the way vaccines are developed, i.e. the use of younger, healthier participants in research, not the individuals who are getting the worst disease
  • The involvement of children and elderly people in clinical trials and the key differences in the ethical considerations of this
  • Global equity of access to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines when they become available, who gets them first and how should these decisions be made?
  • The role of Citizens’ Juries in deciding who has priority of access to vaccines in a pandemic situation
  • अनिवार्य टीकाकरण
  • The use of foetal embryonic cell lines in vaccine development


Listen to the episode here: