GHC3 Talks

The Fight to Bare Arms: Ethics and Equity in COVID Vaccination

October 22, 2020 GHC3 Season 1 Episode 1
GHC3 Talks
The Fight to Bare Arms: Ethics and Equity in COVID Vaccination
Show Notes

Welcome to the GHC3 podcast, we are excited you found us. In each episode you will hear our hosts explore crises affecting humanity and the planet. They will discuss, with assorted guests,  how what we learn when dealing with challenges teaches us how to be more smart, resilient, resourceful, and ethically evolved as a species … in short, how we can become stronger as a civilization.

In this, the inaugural episode of the GHC3 podcast, our hosts Ken Berta and Dr. Rob Breiman discuss the complex and multifaceted issues surrounding COVID-19 vaccination. To help tackle this topic, they are joined by two special guests: Jim Lavery, Professor of Global Health Ethics at Emory University and Dr. Theresa Cullen, Director of Pima County Public Health Department.

Jim shines a light on the role ethics could, and should, play in the prioritization of vaccine allocation, while Dr. Theresa Cullen underlines the need for community collaboration and data-driven decisions.


  • 01:54 — The WHO is still the leading voice – and that voice says a vaccine is not a silver bullet.
  • 07:55 — Production of a safe and effective vaccine may turn out to be the easy part.
  • 12:42 — How ethics can help us understand the problems we face.
  • 16:50 — Vaccine allocation models: the WHO model versus the Fair Priority Model.
  • 19:40 — The last mile of distribution will determine how vaccine equity is perceived.
  • 25:05 — What are the ethical goals in equitable distribution?
  • 28:14 — Technology is producing vaccine at an unprecedented rate, but its only worth it if people receive a shot in the arm.
  • 31:20 —  We have to approach this pandemic as an opportunity and recognize the solution lies in collaboration: our success depends upon each other.
  • 38:05 — The haunting question is who will get what and how will we decide?
  • 43:22 —  The ultimate public health goal? Data-driven decisions that guide integrated health and human services.
  • 47:04 — Just who are Spike and Surge?

Our hosts:
Ken Berta, Executive Director, GHC3
Dr. Rob Breiman, Epidemiologist and Chief Scientist, GHC3, and Professor, Global Health, Environmental Health and Infectious Diseases, Emory University

Special Guests:
Jim Lavery, Conrad N. Hilton Chair in Global Health Ethics, Emory University
Dr. Theresa Cullen, Director of Pima County Public Health Department

References from this episode:
Emory University, Center for Ethics
Pima County Health Department
The Fair Priority Model