The perceived deservingness of COVID-19 health care: A conjoint experiment on priority access to intensive care and a vaccine

Tim Reeskens, Femke Roosma, Evelien Wanders

Research output: Working paperScientific

Abstract

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, governments, supported by health experts and ethicists, released guidelines about which groups should receive priority access to both (intensive) care and vaccines as resources are limited. To achieve political legitimacy, support from the general public is important, as deservingness theory informs us that not all groups are equally perceived as deserving of assistance. Relying on a probability-based sample representative of the Dutch population (N = 1,601), participants were offered two choice-based conjoint experiments that measured what deservingness criteria matter most in respectively priority access to intensive care, and priority access to a COVID-19 vaccine. The results foremost show that noncompliance with government measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus impedes perceived deservingness. By contrast, being employed in the ‘crucial’ sector (i.e. health care and to a lesser extent education), leads to a higher perceived priority. Having an unhealthy BMI leads to less support for priority access to intensive care and vaccines. Age shows mixed patterns: public opinion would give less priority to elderly patients for intensive care. These results indicate that, control and reciprocity over need are important criteria to determine people’s deservingness of COVID-19 health care. We discuss our findings in light of ongoing ethical discussions.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherOSF Preprints
DOIs
Publication statusSubmitted - 28 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • conjoint experiment
  • COVID-19
  • deservingness theory
  • ICU
  • LISS Panel
  • Netherlands
  • vaccine
  • vignette experiment

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The perceived deservingness of COVID-19 health care: A conjoint experiment on priority access to intensive care and a vaccine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this