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Topics: Change Management, Ethics, Healthcare
Are you a vaxxer or an anti-vaxxer?
Ethical considerations around vaccines have been existing for ages. There have been debates around its efficacy, research and development, autonomy, mandate requirements and disparities in access to the vaccines. The debate has erupted once again with vaccination drive against the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Vaccines are responsible for successes of many global public health concerns such as the eradication of smallpox and reductions in complications like polio and measles.

In the light of information related to the safety, efficacy, benefits and need of the vaccine, it only seems logical and fair that the people get themselves vaccinated.

Yet there are doubts/debates on the same. Some individuals or communities disagree with the mandate and medical safety needs. The mandate appears to infringe on individual rights to protect themselves and their family. This forces the authorities to consider incentivization practices to ensure a successful vaccination drives.

What are some ethical concerns around this situation? How can one look at the same in the light of responsibility, respect, fairness, and honesty - PMI's values as per Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

Join in the discussions with your thoughts...
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Straight to the point Deepa and you are totally right with your ethical concerns in this Chaos.
This applies to any aspect related to vaccination, starting from the responsibility and the honesty of delivering a trial vaccine to the whole population of the globe, going through questioning the fairness and respect in administrating the distribution globally and locally...
The full process requires a delicate attention and high level of values and principles and it is our role, as professionals, to highlight and keep on promoting those values.
...
1 reply by Deepa Bhide
May 06, 2021 5:27 AM
Deepa Bhide
...
Thanks Gretta. I agree and value your input on the role that we as leaders play in educating our teams and all around us.
Challenging question, Deepa!

I'm not sure that PMI's framework is designed to tackle such questions as the first three values within it can apply equally to an individual or a larger collective.

Respecting an individual's right to choose whether or not to get vaccinated might show irresponsibility to the larger group if too many individuals choose NOT to get vaccinated.

At what point do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?
...
2 replies by Deepa Bhide and Luis Branco
May 06, 2021 5:30 AM
Deepa Bhide
...
Kiran, thank you for your comment. I think pandemic is a unique situation where needs of the many outweigh needs of few - the herd immunity that the vaccine is likely to bring is a great leveler to bring up the defense of a community.
I think its only a fair to oneself and the community around you to comply with the directive
May 09, 2021 10:14 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Kiron
Here in Europe they are preparing to create a "vaccinated passport".
Only those who have been vaccinated can travel between member states
Are bureaucrats testing people's reaction to freedom of choice, or of opinion?

"Because of the flies" I already got two doses of the Pfizer vaccine :-)
Great debate. Sorry for this long post. I hope it helps. Because the work I am performing outside my actual work place and inside my actual work place I am part of a group of investigators which are considered between the top five in the world, not for today Covid but they are there from long time ago. But my work inside the group is related to support the group with things like data, statistics, computing, etc, not about infectology, biology or things like that. With that said, I humble believe that putting the debate in the field of anti-vaccine or pro-vaccine has no sense because you will find the same for vaccines that are exhaustively tested saved life from long time ago. In my opinion I think we have to put it in the facts at least what we know today. Here comes some of the information I have. 1-this virus is like the influence virus then, in the basement, "rules" and "behaviors" are the same. 2-phase 3 of all the vaccines that today exists has not been concluded and it will not be concluded until 2-3 more years. Because of that there are inherent risks. In the same way organizations manage other risk a risk analysis was performed and the "cost vs benefit" demonstrate it was "better" to use the vaccines with an emergency approval of phase 3 in an specific state which is not the state accepted to say "phase 3 is concluded". 3-actual vaccines, up to day, they do not prevent infection. Just they prevent that just in case a person is infected "the level" of damage is as slight as possible so they wouldn't have to wear a respirator or get to the point of dying. But with the vaccine everybody can be infected again. Just to comment, all the vaccines have a level of protection or efficiency. 4-actual vaccines do not prevent the propagation of Covid except for the fact that there is growing evidence to suggest that people with the full vaccine are less likely to be infected without symptoms (known as an asymptomatic infection) and in this way there is possibly less likely to spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people. That meant, if a infected person is "visible" then actions to isolate it will prevent to infect others. However, more research is ongoing.
5-while is under research, actual vaccines seems to keep people safe in the terms I stated in point 3 for 6-10 month only.
So, sorry for the long post. My only intention is to encourage people to go to "good" information and do not be afraid but take care. The only, only, only thing that is proved is the best prevention against the Covid, up to date, are wearing a chinstrap, washing your hands and keeping your distance when we are interacting especially in closed places. And remember: fear paralyzes. And like physic has demonstrated long time ago everything in this Universe must be in motion not to perish,
...
1 reply by Deepa Bhide
May 09, 2021 1:24 AM
Deepa Bhide
...
Thanks Sergio. I agree to your opinion on having authentic information to go with. Covid-19, its treatments and vaccine efficacy is evolving and we all need to have an updated inforamtion to support our decisions. Pandemics from the past have taught us many a lessons (eg, social distancing, masks etc) and they need to followed.

Vaccines, from the current research, alleviate the symptoms even if they dont necessarily prevent the disease. Research is ongoing and we all need to stay updated.

Thanks for your detailed post. Enjoyed reading it.
May 05, 2021 3:39 AM
Replying to Gretta Kelzi
...
Straight to the point Deepa and you are totally right with your ethical concerns in this Chaos.
This applies to any aspect related to vaccination, starting from the responsibility and the honesty of delivering a trial vaccine to the whole population of the globe, going through questioning the fairness and respect in administrating the distribution globally and locally...
The full process requires a delicate attention and high level of values and principles and it is our role, as professionals, to highlight and keep on promoting those values.
Thanks Gretta. I agree and value your input on the role that we as leaders play in educating our teams and all around us.
May 05, 2021 7:21 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Challenging question, Deepa!

I'm not sure that PMI's framework is designed to tackle such questions as the first three values within it can apply equally to an individual or a larger collective.

Respecting an individual's right to choose whether or not to get vaccinated might show irresponsibility to the larger group if too many individuals choose NOT to get vaccinated.

At what point do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?
Kiran, thank you for your comment. I think pandemic is a unique situation where needs of the many outweigh needs of few - the herd immunity that the vaccine is likely to bring is a great leveler to bring up the defense of a community.
I think its only a fair to oneself and the community around you to comply with the directive
...
1 reply by Kiron Bondale
May 06, 2021 8:40 AM
Kiron Bondale
...
Unfortunately, while I might share that view, the percentage of the population that does will vary dramatically from country to country. The downside of democracy is that everyone has a voice and freedom to act on their beliefs, even if those might be to the indirect detriment of the greater whole.

Kiron
May 06, 2021 5:30 AM
Replying to Deepa Bhide
...
Kiran, thank you for your comment. I think pandemic is a unique situation where needs of the many outweigh needs of few - the herd immunity that the vaccine is likely to bring is a great leveler to bring up the defense of a community.
I think its only a fair to oneself and the community around you to comply with the directive
Unfortunately, while I might share that view, the percentage of the population that does will vary dramatically from country to country. The downside of democracy is that everyone has a voice and freedom to act on their beliefs, even if those might be to the indirect detriment of the greater whole.

Kiron
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
May 09, 2021 9:59 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Kiton
Your perspective is very interesting
Thanks for sharing

You wrote: "The downside of democracy is that everyone has a voice and freedom to act on their beliefs, even if those might be to the indirect detriment of the greater whole."

Why do you consider it a downside to live in democracy?

What to do when there is a risk of damaging a whole good?

It remains to be seen what will be "a whole good"
As a professional engineer and project manager my code of ethics does not allow me to influence the thinking of staff under my direction regarding issues/subjects outside my area of expertise. This applies not only to vaccines but also sexual orientation, politics, religion. I cannot use my position of authority to promote specific personal thoughts or beliefs, even outside the office environment. Even if I think my beliefs are in the common interest or within accepted norms.

Not only that but as a leader I have an obligation to ensure that no one else in the team tries to use their position, or their opportunity, to try and influence others in matters not directly related to the project.

If it is brought to your attention that there is discomfort, conflict or concern within the team as to exposure to a potentially unsafe or unhealthy situation you have to deal with it as a project risk and find ways to mitigate.

Stay out of peoples lives and beliefs. Focus on the project.
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
May 09, 2021 9:47 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Peter
Your perspective on the topic is very interesting.

Imagine the scenario:
- The distrust is total
- Many members of your team stop working remotely
- 50% of your team members do not want (for this or that reason) to be vaccinated
- 50% are in favor of vaccines

How would you proceed as a project manager?
May 05, 2021 9:27 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
Great debate. Sorry for this long post. I hope it helps. Because the work I am performing outside my actual work place and inside my actual work place I am part of a group of investigators which are considered between the top five in the world, not for today Covid but they are there from long time ago. But my work inside the group is related to support the group with things like data, statistics, computing, etc, not about infectology, biology or things like that. With that said, I humble believe that putting the debate in the field of anti-vaccine or pro-vaccine has no sense because you will find the same for vaccines that are exhaustively tested saved life from long time ago. In my opinion I think we have to put it in the facts at least what we know today. Here comes some of the information I have. 1-this virus is like the influence virus then, in the basement, "rules" and "behaviors" are the same. 2-phase 3 of all the vaccines that today exists has not been concluded and it will not be concluded until 2-3 more years. Because of that there are inherent risks. In the same way organizations manage other risk a risk analysis was performed and the "cost vs benefit" demonstrate it was "better" to use the vaccines with an emergency approval of phase 3 in an specific state which is not the state accepted to say "phase 3 is concluded". 3-actual vaccines, up to day, they do not prevent infection. Just they prevent that just in case a person is infected "the level" of damage is as slight as possible so they wouldn't have to wear a respirator or get to the point of dying. But with the vaccine everybody can be infected again. Just to comment, all the vaccines have a level of protection or efficiency. 4-actual vaccines do not prevent the propagation of Covid except for the fact that there is growing evidence to suggest that people with the full vaccine are less likely to be infected without symptoms (known as an asymptomatic infection) and in this way there is possibly less likely to spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people. That meant, if a infected person is "visible" then actions to isolate it will prevent to infect others. However, more research is ongoing.
5-while is under research, actual vaccines seems to keep people safe in the terms I stated in point 3 for 6-10 month only.
So, sorry for the long post. My only intention is to encourage people to go to "good" information and do not be afraid but take care. The only, only, only thing that is proved is the best prevention against the Covid, up to date, are wearing a chinstrap, washing your hands and keeping your distance when we are interacting especially in closed places. And remember: fear paralyzes. And like physic has demonstrated long time ago everything in this Universe must be in motion not to perish,
Thanks Sergio. I agree to your opinion on having authentic information to go with. Covid-19, its treatments and vaccine efficacy is evolving and we all need to have an updated inforamtion to support our decisions. Pandemics from the past have taught us many a lessons (eg, social distancing, masks etc) and they need to followed.

Vaccines, from the current research, alleviate the symptoms even if they dont necessarily prevent the disease. Research is ongoing and we all need to stay updated.

Thanks for your detailed post. Enjoyed reading it.
...
1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
May 09, 2021 7:04 AM
Sergio Luis Conte
...
You are welcome. My gratitude is for you to give me the possibility to participate and to learn from all comments.
May 09, 2021 1:24 AM
Replying to Deepa Bhide
...
Thanks Sergio. I agree to your opinion on having authentic information to go with. Covid-19, its treatments and vaccine efficacy is evolving and we all need to have an updated inforamtion to support our decisions. Pandemics from the past have taught us many a lessons (eg, social distancing, masks etc) and they need to followed.

Vaccines, from the current research, alleviate the symptoms even if they dont necessarily prevent the disease. Research is ongoing and we all need to stay updated.

Thanks for your detailed post. Enjoyed reading it.
You are welcome. My gratitude is for you to give me the possibility to participate and to learn from all comments.
May 06, 2021 10:41 AM
Replying to Peter Rapin
...
As a professional engineer and project manager my code of ethics does not allow me to influence the thinking of staff under my direction regarding issues/subjects outside my area of expertise. This applies not only to vaccines but also sexual orientation, politics, religion. I cannot use my position of authority to promote specific personal thoughts or beliefs, even outside the office environment. Even if I think my beliefs are in the common interest or within accepted norms.

Not only that but as a leader I have an obligation to ensure that no one else in the team tries to use their position, or their opportunity, to try and influence others in matters not directly related to the project.

If it is brought to your attention that there is discomfort, conflict or concern within the team as to exposure to a potentially unsafe or unhealthy situation you have to deal with it as a project risk and find ways to mitigate.

Stay out of peoples lives and beliefs. Focus on the project.
Dear Peter
Your perspective on the topic is very interesting.

Imagine the scenario:
- The distrust is total
- Many members of your team stop working remotely
- 50% of your team members do not want (for this or that reason) to be vaccinated
- 50% are in favor of vaccines

How would you proceed as a project manager?
...
1 reply by Peter Rapin
May 09, 2021 10:48 AM
Peter Rapin
...
As to people working remotely, what does their position on vaccine matter to others. Last I heard you can't get exposed over Zoom, emails, phone calls, or written communications. The concern from a PM perspective is that there may be a greater probability of missing assignments due to sickness. The mitigation is not to get them to change their minds on the vaccine but but develop redistribution-of-assignments strategy if necessary. "I don't care about your position on vaccines, tell me how you are going to deliver on your project assignment."

I don't understand the connection with vaccines and stop working remotely. Are they sick? if so, see first paragraph.

How would I proceed - first, this has nothing to do with the vaccine. Drill down and find out what is going on. Get back to the project.

Why has the vaccine issue come to the surface especially in a remote work situation? Why are people discussing their personal views?

Totally different situation in an office environment. Until herd immunity sets in there may be, or perceive to be, an exposure problem. Your response would be to put protocols in place to minimize risk of exposure (mitigation measures). That's what remote working is all about.

In my opinion as a PM you cannot challenge people's belief or even attempt to. If a threat to the project - you mitigate. If, because of their belief, they can't or won't contribute to the project, mitigate - find some they can/will do to benefit the project or replace.

What is your response when a team member tells you they can't work with someone because they are anti-vaccine? Exchange anti-vaccine for Muslim, or Christian, or Black, or gay. Is there that much difference?
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