Caesar Atuire appointed to the WHO Ethics Working Group on Access to COVID-19 Tools

Dr Caesar Atuire of the Philosophy and Classics Department, a philosopher and bioethicist, has been appointed one of 20 experts selected from around the world who constitute the WHO ACT Accelerator Ethics Working Group. Among the numerous ethical issues, the Ethics Working Group will be examining the criteria for vaccine acquisition and distribution between nations as well as offering recommendations for priority setting of vaccination programmes within member countries.

The Dean of the School of Arts, Prof. Michael Okyerefo, commenting on this appointment, said “I am delighted such talented and sought after experts are emanating from our School at the University of Ghana. We congratulate Dr. Atuire on the appointment”.

Researchers around the world are racing to find cures and vaccines that will reduce the morbidity and mortality of COVID-19. The pandemic has revealed inequalities and vulnerabilities among and within nations. The scarcity of available tools and future cures and vaccines calls for a global effort of solidarity to ensure that poor countries and marginalized populations are not disproportionally exposed to the risk of getting infected or dying from COVID-19.

Regarding a future vaccine for COVID-19, there are many difficult technical and ethical issues to be resolved so that the most needy and poor anywhere in the world can have access to the vaccine in good time. The WHO has set up an Ethics Working Group (WG) to support WHO and Partners in responding to ethical and governance issues as they arise in the Accelerator. Apart from deliberating on the criteria for international distributive justice in vaccine distribution, the Ethics Working Group will also facilitate an ethical implementation of activities in member countries.

The University of Ghana congratulates Dr Caesar Atuire on his appointment.