The current allocation of vaccines against COVID-19 is widely perceived to be unfair. While high-income countries are administering booster shots, low-income countries have barely received any doses. In attempting to improve upon the status quo and ensure a better distribution of vaccines in future pandemics, ethicists like Emanuel et al. (2021) have proposed a more equal allocation of vaccines. These frameworks have utterly failed to change the practice. In this paper, we join reformers in proposing a new scheme for vaccine distribution: a global auction for vaccines where profits are distributed fairly to participating countries. Our proposal improves upon previous suggestions ethically by taking countries’ differing valuations of money and vaccines seriously. Since an auction is in the interest of both vaccine manufacturers and high-income countries, it is also politically feasible. A global redistributive auction for vaccines thus promises to be a robust and ethically desirable way to allocate vaccines.
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