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COVID

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COVID & CONSENT

Featuring Stamatina Liosi (University of Hall)

Stamatina Liosi, legal academic and bioethicist, enters a conversation on consent in regards to COVID in light of bodily autonomy, ethics and dignity, distributive justice and how it affects vulnerable populations including children or senior citizens.

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“Each individual is different. My view is that we should examine each case separately. We should enhance the idea of precision in personalised medicine.”
Personal Dimension
“The dogma “doctor’s know best” has been weakened these days. It used to be a very strong dogma in the past but that is not the case anymore. Now what matters is the cooperation and the understanding between a doctor and a patient.”
Interpersonal Dimension
“When we are talking about COVID and consent, I think that we should always bear in mind that we should examine this topic medically, ethically and legally. All these aspects should equally be considered. ”
Societal Dimension
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Key Terms and Definitions

Here we clarified key terms and definitions to understand the topic better.

“The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Most people infected with the virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. However, some will become seriously ill and require medical attention.”

World Health Organisation

“Contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent onward transmission. When systematically applied, contact tracing will break the chains of transmission of COVID-19. It is an essential public health tool for controlling the virus.”

World Health Organisation

“A lockdown is an emergency protocol implemented by the government to prevent people from exiting a place. In the COVID-19 setting, lockdown means keeping people at home and restricting travelling to flatten the curve. ”

Futurelearn

“Long-term symptoms of COVID last more than 12 weeks after an infection and cannot be explained by any other causes. ”

BBC

“People who are exposed to the infectious disease or suspected to contract the infectious disease are asked to stay indoors to prevent the further spread of the illness. ”

Webmd

“Self-isolation means staying indoors without contacting anyone including those who live with you. ”

HSE

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, emerging data and reports from those on the front lines, have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified. This is the Shadow Pandemic growing amidst the COVID-19 crisis.”

UNWomen

“A set of practices to remain a distance (6 feet or more) from other people and to avoid non-essential travel.”

Red Cross

Did you know… ?

Here are facts and figures on the topic.

There were (as of 29 October 2021) 245.04 million confirmed cases and 4.97 million confirmed deaths of COVID-19 worldwide.

49.1% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. However, only 3.3% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.

Cameroon, Tanzania and Nicaragua were the few countries where there were no stay-at-home restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic until now.

Want to help spread the word? Share our animation on COVID

Here are a few quick facts and some easy to understand information on this topic. Feel free to post to your social media accounts to get your friends involved.

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Covid Resources

Check out the following resources to learn more about nudity and consent.

COVID-19 in your neighbourhood

DATA VISUALISATION

It is sometimes difficult to think of numbers in a human way and it is difficult to understand the personal dimension of the pandemics. This data visualisation piece shows what would happen if all confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Bazil happened around a provided address.

The great jabs-for-kids debate

PODCAST EPISODE

Can children and pre-teens consent to a coronavirus vaccine? Telegraph (UK newspaper) columnists Liam Halligan and Allison Pearson talk about vaccination and consent on this episode of the podcast Planet Normal.

World Health Organization

INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT

The World Health Organization, the United Nations’ health agency, has been sharing information about COVID19 throughout the pandemic: how it affects mental health, factors driving transmission, vaccines’ effectiveness, among others to inform citizens globally.

Myth Busters

Covid and consent are topics that are often misunderstood because of the myths surrounding them, here we want to clean up some of the most prominent misconceptions.

It is illegal to ask someone about their vaccination status.

It’s neither illegal nor does it violate someone’s health privacy to ask.

Sharing information about vaccination or health status is helpful in order to be able to protect oneself and others. It is important to keep in mind that someone’s health status is personal information and caution shall be taken even if people do not feel comfortable sharing their health history.

Having a healthy immune system prevents Covid-19.

Even healthy people get COVID-19.

Many top fit young sportsmen such as the world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic contracted Covid-19. A healthy immune system does not prevent COVID-19.

Covid-19 is just the flu.

Covid-19 is more severe and causes a higher mortality rate than any type of influenza.

Covid-19 leads to conditions requiring intensive care in some cases. It has led to high numbers of deaths in many countries. It also endures in a long-form which debilitates people for months, even years.

How to…

Check out these guidelines that help you to have conversations on consent.

… handle uncertainty about immunisation.

Advice: Consent should be voluntarily given and fully informed. Therefore talking with a health professional to get information about the vaccine and the vaccination procedure is helpful. It is important to be aware of the benefits and side effects and what to do if they occur. Your concerns should be listened to and answered.

... practice consent when we work from home.

Advice: As we work from home, we mostly interact by email exchanges and chatlogs. This makes it more difficult to determine someone’s response because of non-verbal cues like body language and tone. Therefore, you should communicate with your co-workers clearly about your expectation, availability and limits before giving or getting a new task. It is also crucial to respect their limits and boundaries when they say no.

… socialize while maintaining COVID measures.

Advice: COVID-19 changes the way we interact. We wear masks, keep social distancing and avoid close contact. When you come to an in-person hangout, it’s important to ask if people you interact with feel comfortable if you move closer, if you remove your mask, or if you want to give them a hug. Don’t take it personally when they say no, or when they expect you to follow the safety measure.

Covid and Consent Cases

Here we highlight prominent cases.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson

CASE:
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson got COVID-19 in March 2020, quite early on in the pandemic. They got different reactions with Rita Wilson having worse symptoms than Tom Hanks. Both are now recovered.

ANALYSIS:
This case has served as a wake up call to many who were dismissive of the disease.

Know Your Rights

It is important to understand the rights you have in terms of COVID.

Interpretations of Consent and COVID

According to each country data protection and privacy rights differ.

Australia

The government of the state of Victoria in Australia has proposed legislation that would allow police and other government-appointed officials to arrest and indefinitely detain others whom they merely suspect of being likely to break lockdown regulations. Victoria’s draconian lockdown rules include making face coverings mandatory anywhere outside one’s home, even in open spaces when one is alone; daily curfews preventing people from leaving their homes except for work and essential health, care, or safety reasons; and rules preventing residents of the capital city, Melbourne, going farther than 5 km from their homes for any reason other than work, medical care, or caregiving. Churches in Victoria are closed, and people are severely restricted in where they can go and what they can do.
Law: COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2020
(Victorian Legislation)

The European Union

Legislation is requiring a vaccination passport (Green Pass) for many everyday activities has been passed in several countries (France, Italy). This is considered by some as a violation of an individual person’s right to consent as it has been made mandatory by the government.
Law: Regulation on a framework for the issuance, verification and acceptance of interoperable COVID-19 vaccination, test and recovery certificates (EU Digital COVID Certificate) to facilitate free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic
(European Commission)

United Kingdom

Plan A is the winter strategy currently that is in operation in England. It is centred on encouraging take up of Covid vaccines and boosters. Measures include:

  • offering Covid booster jabs – without an appointment – to about 30 million people
  • offering healthy 12- to 15-year-olds a single vaccine dose
  • encouraging unvaccinated people to get jabbed
  • NHS Test and Trace continues and PCR and lateral flow tests remain free
  • encouraging free flu jab take-up
  • reminding people to let in fresh air when meeting indoors, to wash their hands, and to wear face coverings in crowded places

More than eight million people have now had a booster or third primary jab in the UK, but 13% of people aged over 12 are still unvaccinated.
Law: Coronavirus Act 2020
(Coronavirus Act 2020)

We are evolving as we share

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This campaign was produced with the financial support of the European Union within the framework of the European Union Sivil Düşün Programme. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Nicole Bogott/The Philia Project e.V. and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

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