Dr. Zeke Emanuel, one of several members of a coronavirus task force assembled by Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, has advocated for a plan that would give a coronavirus vaccine developed in the United States to other nations before all Americans have a chance to be vaccinated.
“Emanuel, who served as a key architect of the Affordable Care Act under the Obama administration, co-authored a paper in September in which he encouraged officials to follow the ‘Fair Priority Model,’ which calls for a ‘fair international distribution of vaccine,’ rather than what he and his co-authors characterized as ‘vaccine nationalism,’” Fox News reported. “The model allows the country that produces the vaccine to hold onto enough of a supply to keep the transmission rate below 1%, but says that beyond that, the vaccine should be distributed internationally. That means giving away or selling doses of the vaccine before it’s available to every citizen in that country, Emanuel explained to Scientific American.”
In the interview with Scientific American, Emanuel said that “from an ethical standpoint, there’s not a good reason for absolute partiality, where a country covers every one of its citizens before giving any vaccine internationally.” He went as far as to say that there is a “good ethical reason” for not having “absolute vaccine nationalism.”
Biden’s selection of Emanuel to be on his task force has generated controversy due to a past article that he wrote at The Atlantic in 2014 where he declared that life is not worth living after 75.
…A simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic…By the time I reach 75, I will have lived a complete life. I will have loved and been loved. My children will be grown and in the midst of their own rich lives. I will have seen my grandchildren born and beginning their lives. I will have pursued my life’s projects and made whatever contributions, important or not, I am going to make. And hopefully, I will not have too many mental and physical limitations. Dying at 75 will not be a tragedy.
What about simple stuff? Flu shots are out. Certainly if there were to be a flu pandemic, a younger person who has yet to live a complete life ought to get the vaccine or any antiviral drugs. A big challenge is antibiotics for pneumonia or skin and urinary infections. Antibiotics are cheap and largely effective in curing infections. It is really hard for us to say no. Indeed, even people who are sure they don’t want life-extending treatments find it hard to refuse antibiotics. But, as Osler reminds us, unlike the decays associated with chronic conditions, death from these infections is quick and relatively painless. So, no to antibiotics.
“To review: Joe Biden’s coronavirus adviser does not think life is worth living at 75, does not see the death of someone 75 or over to be tragic, and does not think that people that age should be accepting flu shots or even antibiotics,” Daily Wire columnist Matt Walsh wrote in response to Emanuel’s 2014 article. “This is concerning, to say the least, because the virus has especially decimated the 75+ age demographic. You might argue that there’s a serious conflict of interest in a man advising the president on how to deal with a disease that mostly kills the elderly, while personally believing that the elderly should just die anyway and it’s no great tragedy when they do.”
Emanuel’s stance that other nations should have access to a vaccine before all the citizens of the country that developed have access could come back to bite Biden given how he has repeatedly claimed on the campaign trail that President Donald Trump has “failed to protect America” from the pandemic.