Public health ethics framework: A guide for use in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada
Government of Canada
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Introduction: The public health threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic has led all levels of government to take unprecedented measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and thereby minimise serious illness, death and social disruption resulting from the pandemic. Difficult choices are being made in a context of considerable uncertainty, as knowledge about COVID-19 and the impact of unprecedented public health measures evolves rapidly. Examples include decisions about allocation of scarce resources, prioritization guidelines for vaccines and medical countermeasures, curtailment of individual freedoms, and closing or re-opening public spaces, schools and businesses. Recognizing the fundamental ethical nature of these choices can help decision makers identify competing values and interests, weigh relevant considerations, identify options and make well-considered and justifiable decisions.