Ethics expert say to use vaccines to “Level the playing field” by not prioritizing elderly because they are “whiter”

Harald Schmidt, MA, PhD
Harald Schmidt, MA, PhD (Penn)
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In a December New York Times story, “Harald Schmidt, an expert in ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, said that it is reasonable to put essential workers ahead of older adults, given their risks, and that they are disproportionately minorities. ‘Older populations are whiter,’ Dr. Schmidt said. ‘Society is structured in a way that enables them to live longer. Instead of giving additional health benefits to those who already had more of them, we can start to level the playing field a bit.’

But to protect older people more at risk, he called on the C.D.C. committee to also integrate the agency’s own ‘social vulnerability index’.

The index includes 15 measures derived from the census, such as overcrowded housing, lack of vehicle access and poverty, to determine how urgently a community needs health support, with the goal of reducing inequities.”

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