• Carlos Luis

Morality of experimenting vaccines


The growing tension of the pandemic all over the world is making us experiment and search for cures. The healthcare departments worldwide are looking out for a vaccine. Many countries are coming together to experiment and find a solution for the long-lasting doom. Although a global leadership is mandatory in this regard, we see the hegemony like the USA resorting to individualism and parties in the opposition like Joe Biden making the best of the opportunity to advertise himself as the best option in the upcoming November 2020 Presidential elections.

Some scientists have found out that medicines like hydroxychloroquine a class of antimalarial drugs, BCG (Baccille Calmette-Guerin) a vaccine for tuberculosis, and plasma therapy are of help in bringing a cure to the patient. Because of the growing pressure on scientists and doctors, they seem to be leaving no stone unturned from experimenting with drugs and vaccines to trying out a variety of treatments. What must be kept in mind is the morality of the experimentation.



The sociologists defined the human person as a social animal. The classical philosophers said that the human person is a rational animal. Descartes further emphasized the human person as a thinking person, when he said, “Cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am). The Second World War defined human person highlighting the aspect of freedom. This emphasis on freedom led the philosophers with a religious bend of mind to say that the freedom given to human being is a gift to be utilized to search God. And to relate to Him as we are also relational beings.


We know of this freedom bestowed on us right at the time of creation. Adam and Eve were bestowed with the freedom to choose God above all else. But in their freedom, they failed to listen to the voice of God and listened to the serpent. Nevertheless, God created us in His image and likeness and that is what makes us special in the creation. We are endowed with intelligence that must be invested to glorify God.


Jennifer Heller, a 43-year-old woman and a mother of two in Seattle became the first woman to be experimented upon on March 16, 2020. Plasma therapy which is the blood fluid from the recovered patients is said to have cured a few patients as it was administered to them. Elisa Granato a microbiologist became the first scientist to be experimented upon along with 800 other volunteers on April 23, 2020, in the UK with the vaccine developed by a group of University of Oxford scientists. This mass experimentation should help us in the process of getting medicine for the virus rather than creating complications. A human must be treated as a human person and not just a body.


In all of the above cases, we have seen that the volunteers had a positive intent to be cured and be of help to the world. But if the vaccine experimented hampers their normal way of life decreasing their life-span apart from the side effects, it is somewhat a cause of concern and needs ethical attention.


China and India with huge demographics could be tempted with and for unethical experimentation. Human beings as created by God are called to be responsible for our brethren. Every human person has got therefore his or her rights and privileges to be enjoyed. A human person has the right to seek self-fulfilment which completes the processes of his or her search. Having said this we can never achieve fulfilment because the desires of every human person keep changing.


There are about 2,995,139 and more cases registered all over the world. When experimentations of vaccines and other treatment as a remedy for coronavirus are done there could be three kinds of persons who are usually victims i.e. the healthy, sick, and incurable. The experiment on a healthy person should be avoided when her or his health will be destroyed and the risk to hampering the health is more. If there is no other option to save the life of the sick person other than the vaccine or the experiment than this can be tried on a sick person. If experimenting on the incurable if it hastens death and has more risks involved than it should be avoided.


The patients must be treated as persons who have self-possession. The patient should be revered for the decision she or he is making. The health care personnel and the facilities that they provide only assist in empowering and creating confidence in the person to get back healthy into the community. Many times the patient is caught unawares of the situations around her or him; patients have the right to informed consent and make a moral judgment when required. In the case of the mentally competent patient, the doctor shouldn’t withhold the information regarding the patient but make it known to the family members. Every patient has the right to stay alive and stay alive well in a completely healthy state of life. Therefore the doctor and the family members of the patient should exploit every opportunity to give the best medication available to the patient, especially during this pandemic. In a bid to search for a vaccine, may we not hamper the respect and reverence we have for the humankind.


First Published on THE GOAN EVERYDAY NEWSPAPER



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