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Public health is constantly straddling the importance of individual rights and the good of the community. In a pandemic, the choices often become more urgent and more difficult. A few key documents summarize the consensus on ethical public health actions in a pandemic. This dashboard helps you find what these documents recommend.  They are:

  • The University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, Stand on Guard for Thee: Ethical considerations in preparedness planning for pandemic influenza (2005)
  • The World Health Organization, Ethical considerations in developing a public health response to pandemic influenza (2007)
  • The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Ethical guidelines in pandemic influenza (2007)
  • Indiana University Center for Bioethics, Ethics Guide for health practitioners working under conditions of an influenza pandemic (2009)
  • The World Health Organization, Guidance for Managing Ethical Issues in Infectious Disease Outbreaks (2016)
  • The American Public Health Association, Public health code of ethics (2019)


Common ethical issues in four pandemic settings
  1. Preparation
  2. The community
  3. Hospitals
  4. The aftermath
Quick navigation
  • Select a setting
  • Select a common ethical issue in the setting
  • Scan through the recommended actions
  • Link to the source document for more detail and context
Additional resources
  • Links to peer-reviewed literature
  • More reports and guidance