Rationing of a scarce life-saving resource: Public preferences for prioritizing COVID-19 vaccination

Jeroen Luyten*, Sandy Tubeuf, R. Kessels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In the face of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, governments have had to identify priority groups for vaccination. In October 2020, when it was still uncertain whether COVID-19 vaccines would be shown to work in trials, we conducted a discrete choice experiment and a best-worst ranking exercise on a representative sample of 2060 Belgians in order to elicit their views on how to set fair vaccination priorities. When asked directly, our respondents prioritized the groups that would later receive priority: essential workers, the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions. When priorities were elicited indirectly, through observing choices between individuals competing for a vaccine, different preferences emerged. The elderly were given lower priority and respondents divided within two clusters. While both clusters wanted to vaccinate the essential workers in the second place, one cluster (N = 1058) primarily wanted to target virus spreaders in order to control transmission whereas the other cluster (N = 886) wanted to prioritize those who were most at risk because of a pre-existing health condition. Other strategies to allocate a scarce resource such as using a “lottery”, “first-come, first-served” approach or highest willingness-to-pay received little support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-362
Number of pages21
JournalHealth Economics
Volume31
Issue number2
Early online date17 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • discrete choice experiment
  • distribution
  • efficiency
  • equity
  • justice
  • priority
  • public preferences
  • scarcity
  • vaccine
  • LATENT CLASS ANALYSIS
  • DISCRETE-CHOICE EXPERIMENTS
  • BAYESIAN OPTIMAL DESIGNS
  • HEALTH-CARE
  • MODEL

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