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 will be a scholar in residence at Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics from June to December 2021.

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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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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.

Persuasion better than compulsion in vaccinating the nation
Financial Reviews, 20 Aug 2020

Australians readily accept vaccinations. But making the COVID-19 inoculation mandatory risks turning it into a front in the culture wars.

The ethical complexities of rationing healthcare
ABC Radio, 12 Aug 2020

The Abbasi case involved a 6-year-old girl whose prospects of survival were not great. But how many health resources should doctors dedicate to giving her every chance of survival?

Pandemic ethics, herd immunity and the protection of vulnerable members of the community
ABC Religion and Ethics, 8 May 2020

There is often a sinister subtext to the rhetoric of policy proposals that focus purely on economic productivity and that give insufficient importance to the lives of vulnerable persons.

Rationing care to cope with COVID-19 should never be based on age alone
Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Mar 2020

The pandemic raises difficult ethical questions about the rationing of resources such as ICU beds and ventilators, the latter being vital for coronavirus patients.

The delicate balance of enforcing coronavirus quarantine laws
Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Mar 2020.

The temptation during a public health crisis is to authorise emergency measures first and to consider ethics later. Public gatherings such as sporting, musical or religious events could be banned.

Assisted dying bill leaves sick and elderly open to coercion 
Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Dec 2019

Recent WA bill exposes patients to undue influence from doctors. In addition, Indigenous groups, culturally and linguistically diverse populations and patients with disabilities may misinterpret a doctor’s words.

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