Members of the Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative (RaDVaC), a group composed of scientists have been self-administering an untested COVID-19 vaccine, according to a report from Scientific American.
The RaDVaC scientists describe their project as aiming “to reduce risk of harm from SARS-CoV-2, minimally until there is at least one effective commercial vaccine widely available.” Although the project’s white paper includes includes terms and conditions designed to shield the authors from liability, RaDVaC’s self-experimentation raises important legal and ethical questions.
Beyond self-experimentation, friends, staff members, and family members of the scientists involved are taking this vaccine based on these expert’s recommendations, which could lead to two potential misconceptions. First, people taking the vaccine might overestimate the likelihood that they are protected from SARS-CoV-2 and change their behavior. If some individuals falsely believe they are protected, they might engage in riskier behavior that could cause harm to themselves and others.