Diverse people signing papers while waiting in line to get influenza or coronavirus shots at the hospital or medical center. African-American man putting signature on Informed Consent for Vaccination

Ethics & Human Research

Research Ethics during Pandemics:
How IRBs Can Prepare

ABSTRACT The Covid-19 pandemic has raised a range of complex challenges for the research community in the United States. This essay uses Covid-19 as a model pandemic illness to consider two such issues that have yet to be fully explored in the ethics literature: first, whether the informed consent process should include a discussion of pandemic risks and, if so, how precisely these risks should be conveyed to potential research participants and, second, whether and under what circumstances vaccination status should be taken into consideration when enrolling subjects in non-pandemic-related studies during a pandemic.

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