If we talk about Turku residents or Helsinki residents as a whole, careless behavior does not explain the increased risk of infection.
Miltei everyone seems to agree that coronavirus vaccinations should be started from those whose lives and health are most at risk. This principle is ethical and not medical. As long as we do not clearly distinguish between different risk factors, we will easily end up misunderstanding what follows from it.
The risk that an coronavirus poses to an individual can be divided into two parts: what is the probability of becoming seriously ill if he becomes infected, and what is the probability that he will become infected at all. Therefore, Mati’s overall risk may be higher than Liisa’s, even if Liisa is an elderly man from Joensuu and Matti is an ordinary middle-aged and overweight Vantaa resident.
There is no ethical justification for elevating one of these risk factors to a special position. Therefore, at least when those at risk have been vaccinated, the order of vaccination should take into account the risk of infection. This risk is systematically greater in densely populated areas that receive a lot of traffic from abroad. Therefore, the exact same ethical principle that justified vaccinating the elderly and the underlying patients first now justifies prioritizing areas such as Uusimaa.
An exception to the priority based on overall risk could only be justified by the fact that the individual or group is himself responsible for exposure to infections due to his negligent behavior. I will not comment on whether this is the case for some groups. In any case, it is clear that if we talk about Turku residents or Helsinki residents as a whole, careless behavior does not explain the increased risk of infection.
Although we Helsinki residents follow the instructions as carefully as the people of Joensuu, we are in greater danger – and we will inadvertently spread the disease elsewhere as long as it spreads here.
Professor of Practical Philosophy, Helsinki
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