Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2: a human enhancement story

Faculty/Professorship: General Psychology and Methodology  
Author(s): Döbler, Niklas  ; Carbon, Claus-Christian  
Title of the Journal: Translational medicine communications
ISSN: 2396-832X
Publisher Information: London : BioMed Central
Year of publication: 2021
Volume: 6
Issue: Art. 27
Pages: 10
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1186/s41231-021-00104-2

Vaccination is an essential strategy for mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides its significance as a public health measure, vaccination is a sophisticated example of modern biotechnology. Since vaccination gives the human body an ability that it does not naturally possess, the question arises as to its classification as Human Enhancement.

Main Body

Exemplified on a selection of different definitions, we conclude that vaccinations may indeed be classified and treated as a form of Human Enhancement. This raises some ethical issues that are notorious in the broad field of Human Enhancement. A study with N = 67 participants revealed that vaccinations are perceived neither as a clear nor poor example of Human Enhancement.


We argue that qualifying vaccination technology as Human Enhancement does not provide convincing arguments to reject vaccination. By examining the Human Enhancement debate and the similarities to the issue of vaccination shown here, policymakers can learn valuable lessons regarding mass vaccination programs’ current and future handling.
GND Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Impfung; Psychologie
Keywords: Vaccination, Human enhancement, Ethics, Psychology, Public Health, Policy making, Politics, Pandemic
DDC Classification: 610 Medicine & health  
RVK Classification: YD 8600   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
Release Date: 31. January 2022