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Varicella-zoster virus vaccination under the exogenous boosting hypothesis: two ethical perspectives

Luyten, Jeroen, Ogunjimi, Benson and Beutels, Philippe (2014) Varicella-zoster virus vaccination under the exogenous boosting hypothesis: two ethical perspectives. Vaccine, 32 (52). pp. 7175-7178. ISSN 0264-410X

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.10.015


The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes two diseases: varicella (‘chickenpox’) and herpes zoster (‘shingles’). VZV vaccination of children reduces exposure to chickenpox in the population and it has been hypothesized that this could increase the prevalence of shingles. This ‘exogenous boosting’ effect of VZV raises an important equity concern: introducing a vaccination program could advance the health of one population group (children) at the expense of another (adults and elderly). We discuss the program's justifiability from two ethical perspectives, classic utilitarianism and contractualism. Whereas the former framework might offer a foundation for the case against introducing this vaccination, the latter offers a basis to justify it.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Elsevier Ltd
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2014 16:14
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:55
Projects: FWO, project number G098911N
Funders: The Research Foundation–Flanders

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