The Bioethics of CoVid19 Care in the Elderly: Ventilation and Vaccines

12 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2020

See all articles by Barbara Pfeffer Billauer

Barbara Pfeffer Billauer

Institute of World Politics; International Program in Bioethics, U. of Porto; Foundation for Law and Science Centers, Inc.

Date Written: July 9, 2020


Bioethical principles have been enunciated for rationing therapeutic agents, such as ventilators, in the context of the CoVid crisis. This article discusses the inapplicability of currently used paradigms (e.g. efficiency, success, quality of life, and life-expectancy) to assess prioritization of preventive measures that dissipate resources, such as vaccines. The contradictory outcomes that result when the present paradigm as used to assess ventilator rationing versus vaccines allocation, suggests that there may be something wrong with our current approach. Worse still, is the fact that current decisions regarding allocation and rationing which are based on age are likely based on inaccurate data or invalid conclusions. Policy decisions based on such invalid data (i.e. that, old people are at greater risk of death from CoVid - without specifying compared to what) precipitate decisions such as restrictive lockdowns or deprivation of ventilators. These policies, in turn, cause more deaths that artificially validate the flawed underlying premise upon which the policies are based.

Keywords: corona, virus, COVID, rationing, priority, allocation, vaccines, ventilators, age, ageism, data, bioethics, utilitarianism, efficiency, succes, qualty of life, life-expectancy

JEL Classification: I1, I12, I14, I18, I31, K32

Suggested Citation

Billauer, Barbara P., The Bioethics of CoVid19 Care in the Elderly: Ventilation and Vaccines (July 9, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Barbara P. Billauer (Contact Author)

Institute of World Politics ( email )

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International Program in Bioethics, U. of Porto ( email )

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Foundation for Law and Science Centers, Inc. ( email )

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