'Dr. Death' Wants to Give Away COVID Vaccine to Other Nations Before All Americans Are Protected

Zeke Emanuel outside his office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in 2009. (Samuel Masinter - Own work via Wikipedia)

Dr. Zeke Emanuel co-authored a paper in September that calls for nations to ignore the needs of their own people and give away a coronavirus vaccine to other nations based on what he is calling a “Fair Priority Model”  of distribution.


Dr. Emanuel, who wrote an essay in 2014 in which he said he didn’t want to live past the age of 75, was one of the chief architects of Obamacare. Joe Biden named him to the coronavirus task force on Monday.

So what criteria would be used to distribute the vaccine “fairly”?

Fox News:

The model allows the country that produces the vaccine to hold onto enough of a supply to keep the transmission rate below 1%, but says that beyond that, the vaccine should be distributed internationally. That means giving away or selling doses of the vaccine before it’s available to every citizen in that country, Emanuel explained to Scientific American.

“Reasonable national partiality does not permit retaining more vaccine than the amount needed to keep the rate of transmission (Rt) below 1, when that vaccine could instead mitigate substantial COVID-19–related harms in other countries that have been unable to keep Rt below 1 through ongoing public-health efforts,” the Science magazine article titled “An ethical framework for global vaccine allocation” argues.

“Associative ties only justify a government’s giving some priority to its own citizens, not absolute priority,” Emanuel wrote with his co-authors.


Sorry, Dr. Death, but I see nothing remotely “fair” about that arrangement. Fair to whom? Certainly not those Americans who would be susceptible to serious illness but would be unable to receive a vaccine they paid for with their tax dollars.

“Our first priority of course is to develop and produce enough quantity of safe and effective FDA-approved vaccines and therapeutics for use in the United States,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said during an August visit to Taiwan.

“But we anticipate having capacity that, once those needs are satisfied, those products would be available in the world community according to fair and equitable distributions that we would consult in the international community on,” Azar said.

Azar has it exactly right. Take care of the home folks first, then see about giving it away to other nations. There is absolutely nothing controversial about this idea. No one is going to raise a stink if an American pharmaceutical company financed by the American government were to distribute any new vaccine to Americans first and then the world.

But Dr. Death has his own set of “ethics” and it doesn’t include mundane considerations like distributing a limited supply of a life-saving vaccine to Americans first. He believes that “national partiality” is not absolute even though “associative ties” like “common governmental, civic, and other institutions, and a sense of shared identity” binds peoples together. Also, “the legitimate authority of representative government officials inheres in their representing and promoting the interests of their citizens.”


Emanuel says none of that matters, that national partiality is not “absolute.” I don’t believe anyone is saying it should be. Dr. Death has set up a strawman argument in order to knock it down and show what a great humanitarian he is.

Just don’t try to live past the age of 75.

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