Xavier Symons is a bioethicist, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Plunkett Centre for Ethics at the Australian Catholic University, and a 2020 Fulbright Future Scholar.

About Xavier

Xavier is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at ACU’s Plunkett Centre for Ethics. Xavier has taught bioethics for several years, and has worked with the Catholic healthcare sector on several projects related to ethics education.

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Awards & Fellowships

Xavier was awarded the 2020 Fulbright Future Postdoctoral Scholarship (Funded by the Kinghorn Foundation), and he is currently a scholar in residence at Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics (September 2021 - March 2022).

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Research Areas

Xavier’s research interests include ethical issues at the beginning and end of life, conscientious objection, ethical issues in aged care, and pandemic ethics. His recently completed PhD thesis focused on the allocation of lifesaving healthcare resources.

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The End of the Pandemic
Public Discourse, 13 February 2022

Perhaps the end of the pandemic is not a matter of eliminating COVID-19 but rather coming to terms with our own mortality. For guidance, we can turn to Tolstoy's Ivan Ilyich

Rediscovering the practice of hospitality in the twenty-first century hospital
ABC Religion and Ethics, 2 February 2022

Originally, hospitals were places where one would seek refuge rather than somewhere that one would seek to avoid.

Love to the very end: toward a theology of dementia
Church Life Journal, 3 December 2021

What characterizes the person is not one’s mental states but rather one’s capacity for love, relationship, and self-giving. Love is reflected in the orientation of one’s soul.

"An attitude towards a soul": dementia and personhood
ABC Religion and Ethics, 18 October 2021

We need to look beyond the external markers of personhood that we usually rely on, and instead focus on the inexhaustibly rich and unrepeatable character of the human soul.

Discovering humanity and the common good in a post-pandemic world
ABC Religion and Ethics, 12 June 2021

Ethical progress often occurs following dark chapters of human history. What will be our code of ethics as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic?

COVID-19 and pandemic ethics: travel bans, aged care vaccination and vaccine hesitancy
The Today Show, 8 May 2021

Xavier chatted with Richard Wilkins and Rebecca Maddern about the India travel ban, vaccination of aged care staff and vaccine hesitancy.

COVID-19 vaccine consent for aged-care residents — it’s ethically tricky, but there are ways to get it right
ABC News, 24 February 2021

It is vital COVID-19 vaccines are administered in a manner that respects the autonomy and dignity of older members of the community.

Informed consent and the vaccine rollout in aged care
ABC News Radio, 23 February 2021

Vaccinations for those living in aged care homes are now underway. Each person offered the vaccine must give "informed consent", before receiving the vaccine, which is not as simple as it sounds.

COVID vaccine consent for aged-care residents: it’s ethically tricky, but there are ways to get it right
The Conversation, 19 February 2021

The much anticipated rollout of vaccine will begin on Monday. There are also ethical issues that arise when administering vaccines to aged-care residents, who often have diminished capacity to provide consent.

The 'oversight' in our COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the vulnerable Australians who will have to wait
ABC News, 19 February 2021

Australia's COVID-19 vaccine program begins on Monday with a delay for some people cared at home. Experts say the delay for vulnerable people living at home is concerning, but ultimately "makes sense".

Cancellation of University of Queensland's COVID-19 vaccine trial 'reassuring'
ABC News, 12 Dec 2020

Queensland's coronavirus vaccine trial cancellation may have sounded disappointing, but experts say it should give the public confidence in the vaccine development process.

Experts call on Fed Govt for vaccine roll-out plan
(Interview) ABC News Noon
18 Sep 2020

It is unlikely that all Australians would be able to be vaccinated at once, since there would not be enough vaccines produced at the beginning. Choices will have to be made.

Latest Tweets


RT @Fr_AndrewStH: “What characterizes the person is not one’s mental states but rather one’s capacity for love, relationship, and self-giving...


RT @elwing503: I’m not crying: you’re crying. (Thank you, @xaviersymons - that was just what I needed to read.)