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Sturm College of Law


Monkeypox, Vaccines, Public health, Health Disparities


Countermeasures for mpox (formerly known as monkeypox), primarily vaccines, have been in limited supply in many countries during outbreaks. Equitable allocation of scarce resources during public health emergencies is a complex challenge. Identifying the objectives and core values for the allocation of mpox countermeasures, using those values to provide guidance for priority groups and prioritisation tiers, and optimising allocation implementation are important. The fundamental values for the allocation of mpox countermeasures are: preventing death and illness; reducing the association between death or illness and unjust disparities; prioritising those who prevent harm or mitigate disparities; recognising contributions to combating an outbreak; and treating similar individuals similarly. Ethically and equitably marshalling available countermeasures requires articulating these fundamental objectives, identifying priority tiers, and recognising trade-offs between prioritising the people at the highest risk of infection and the people at the highest risk of harm if infected. These five values can provide guidance on preferable priority categories for a more ethically sound response and suggest methods for optimising allocation of countermeasures for mpox and other diseases for which countermeasures are in short supply. Properly marshalling available countermeasures will be crucial for future effective and equitable national responses to outbreaks.

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The Lancet Public Health



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