Age discrimination, the right to life, and COVID-19 vaccination in countries with limited resources

Peter Lloyd-Sherlock*, Aravinda Guntupalli, Lucas Sempé

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


This paper seeks to develop and apply a simple yardstick based on remaining life expectancy to assess whether specific health policies unfairly discriminate against people on the basis of their age. This reveals that the COVID-19 vaccine prioritization policies of several countries have discriminated against older people. Conversely, the exclusion of older people from COVID-19 vaccine testing is shown to be non-discriminatory, as is some degree of age prioritization for limited acute COVID-19 care. Age discrimination in vaccine prioritization is shown to be embedded in wider ageist attitudes in health policy, which give the lives of older people a lower social value than the lives of people at younger ages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-899
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number4
Early online date30 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

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