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All FSI News Commentary March 3, 2021

Choices in a Crisis — Individual Preferences among COVID Vaccines

Now that a third COVID-19 vaccine has been given emergency-use authorization, Michelle Mello and colleagues ask whether individuals should be able to choose which vaccine they receive.
A health-care worker holds up a COVID-19 vaccine
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The extraordinarily swift development of effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 offers new optimism about combating the Covid-19 pandemic," writes SHP's Michelle Mello and colleagues in this New England Journal of Medicine perspective.

"So far, vaccine demand far exceeds supply, and people generally cannot choose which vaccine they receive. In the United States, this lack of choice has generated little debate given the similar mechanism of action, number of required doses, safety profile, and efficacy of the two vaccines approved in December 2020, both based on mRNA technology. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for a third vaccine and may consider additional vaccines for EUA. As real-world experience with vaccination accumulates, meaningful differences in effectiveness against new SARS-CoV-2 variants and adverse reaction rates may emerge, along with new information about relative effectiveness in preventing transmission. Thus, the question of whether individual vaccinees should be able to choose which vaccine they receive will become increasingly salient."

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Michelle Mello, PhD, JD

Professor of Medicine and Professor of Law
Researchers issues at the intersection of law, ethics and health policy.
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The Uncertain Impact of Accelerating Science

The urgency of the coronavirus pandemic has led to enormous research efforts and some shortcuts. Michelle Mello, a professor of medicine and law, and David Magnus, a professor of medicine and biomedical ethnics, write in this Scientific American commentary that the scientific surge to understand COVID-19 is inspiring — but has led to some ethical dilemmas.
School desks illustration
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School Reopenings and the Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic

SHP's Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert, David Studdert and Michelle Mello write in this JAMA Health Forum Insight that school reopening efforts must account for characteristics of the communities within which schools are embedded.