Jewish Ethics of Inmate Vaccines Against COVID-19

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Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic broke out at the end of 2019, and throughout 2020 there were intensive international efforts to find a vaccine for the disease, which had already led to the deaths of some five million people. In December 2020, several pharmaceutical companies announced that they had succeeded in producing an effective vaccine, and after approval by the various regulatory bodies, countries started to vaccinate their citizens. With the start of the global campaign to vaccinate the world’s population against COVID-19, debates over the prioritization of different sections of the population began around the world, but the prison population has generally been absent from these discussions. Approach and Findings: This article presents the approach of Jewish ethics regarding this issue, that is, that there is a religious and a moral obligation to heal the other and to take care of his or her medical well-being and that this holds true even for a prisoner who has committed a serious crime. Hence, prisoners should be vaccinated according to the same priorities that govern the administration of the vaccine among the general public. Originality: The originality of the article is in a comprehensive and comparative reference between general ethics and Jewish ethics on a subject that has not yet received the proper attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bioethical Inquiry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • COVID-19
  • Inmates vaccinations
  • Jewish ethics


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