Research ethics and public trust in vaccines: the case of COVID-19 challenge trials

Nir Eyal

Publication Date: 05/22/2022


Despite their clearly demonstrated safety and effectiveness, approved vaccines against COVID-19 are commonly mistrusted. Nations should find and implement effective ways to boost vaccine confidence. But the implications for ethical vaccine development are less straightforward than some have assumed. Opponents of COVID-19 vaccine challenge trials, in particular, made speculative or empirically implausible warnings on this matter, some of which, if applied consistently, would have ruled out most COVID-19 vaccine trials and many non-pharmaceutical responses.