Indigenous communities in vaccine prioritization guidelines: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and Russian Federation comparative study

Mr. Dmitry Kartashkov1

1National Research University “Higher School Of Economics”, Moscow, Russian Federation

The presentation is devoted to the problem of prioritizing vaccination in several countries with legally recognized Indigenous communities – Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and Russian Federation. National guidelines for vaccine prioritization will be examined in two dimensions: ethical and legal.

From an ethical point of view, several factors will be highlighted, that clarify ethical justification for high prioritization of Indigenous peoples, mainly based on J. Rawls concept of «distributive justice». Two main co-dependent factors will be distinguished – factor of socio-economic vulnerability and rural settlement factor.

Socio-economic vulnerability is common for Indigenous communities all over the world. Such communities experience disproportionally high risk due to lack of access to healthcare and social services. Traditional lifestyle and occupation often make quarantine and isolation impossible – so vaccination is economically crucial for Indigenous people.

Recent studies find disparities between vaccination rates in rural and urban areas in favor of the latter. Indigenous communities are in the majority living in rural, even remote regions. This remoteness requires a special approach when organizing vaccination processes. Any outbreak of an epidemic in such a distant area may cause grave consequences.

Legal part of the presentation shall overview documents, conducting legal basis for vaccination prioritization, such as NACI Guidelines in Canada, New Zealand Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan, ATAGI Vaccination Policy, US Federal NVAC and ACIP CDC Recommendations, as well as some State documents, and Russian National vaccination calendar.

After legal and ethical comparative analysis, as an outcome, policies will be assessed for consistency and appropriateness.


Dmitry Kartashkov is an undergraduate Master of Law in NRU HSE, specializing in Legal regulations of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; also undergraduate Master of Arts in Political Scinces (University of Manchester). Currently he is working in a project called “Distributive justice as a value basis for legal regulation of health care”. The aim of the project is a philosophical and legal study of the distribution of public health (medical care, drugs and innovations in medicine and pharmaceuticals) in the global health economy. Dmitry has a number of publications in Russian journals, including “Medical Law: Theory and Practice” and “Law”. His scope of interest includes bioethics and health law, primarily legal issues of organ donation and transplantation, justice in healthcare, ethics of palliative care and the end of life. Currently Dmitry is looking for a PhD position in Bioethics/Health law starting in Year 2022 and will be happy to consider any suggestions related to field of his interests.

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