Prof Julian Savulescu and Dr Samantha Vanderslott in conversation: "Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination: the arguments for and against"

Past Event

03 December 2020, 5:00pm


Event Recording:

With COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon, attention again returns to the contentious topic of whether vaccination should be made mandatory.

Recent polling has resulted in worrying headlines about a lack of willingness to have a COVID-19 vaccine if it were available.

Are mandates the answer to ensure vaccine high uptake to end the pandemic? While still a hypothetical scenario, without yet having a safe and effective vaccine approved for use, this could change in the coming months. The question of introducing mandatory vaccination spans considerations of personal liberty, health decision-making, public health and policy, as well as the relationship between the state and its citizens. Join Professor Julian Savulescu and Dr Samantha Vanderslott to debate the ethical and public policy arguments for and against mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.

Julian Savulescu

Professor Julian Savulesu
Lead Researcher, Oxford Martin Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease

Professor Julian Savulescu has held the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford since 2002. He has degrees in medicine, neuroscience and bioethics. He directs the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics within the Faculty of Philosophy, and leads a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator award on Responsibility and Health Care.

He directs the Oxford Martin Programme for Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease at the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. He co-directs the interdisciplinary Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities in collaboration with Public Health, Psychiatry and History.

In 2017, he joined the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, spending four months per year as Visiting Professorial Fellow in Biomedical Ethics where he is working to establish a programme in biomedical ethics, and Melbourne University as Distinguished International Visiting Professor in Law.

In 2018, he concluded an extended tenure as Editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, the highest impact journal in the field, and is founding editor of Journal of Practical Ethics, an open access journal in practical ethics. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bucharest in 2014.

Vanderslott Samantha

Dr Samantha Vanderslott
Oxford Martin Fellow, Oxford Martin Programme for Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease

Samantha is a Social Sciences Researcher at the Oxford Vaccine Group and the Oxford Martin School, working within the Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease. She is currently researching parental attitudes and decisions on vaccination, particularly in relation to pro-vaccination behaviours and vaccine acceptance through the concept of ‘herd immunity’ and following of vaccine schedules.

Samantha primarily draws on Science and Technology Studies, Medical Anthropology, Public Health Policy and Political Economy in her work and has experience working in government as a Senior Policy Advisor at the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Her PhD at UCL (University College London) has been on the policy development for 'Neglected Tropical Diseases' where she conducted fieldwork in Brazil and China, and was a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Brocher Foundation in Geneva.