This article reviews the history of vulnerability to influenza pandemics of disadvantaged groups, citing socioeconomic factors and larger scale forces such as poverty, racism, and gender as contributors. The authors discuss how pandemic planning includes concepts of justice, however these are procedural in nature, ie. fair procedures and neutral decision-making, which do not address biases and unequal social contexts, thereby worsening outcomes for disadvantaged people. The authors review evidence of the role of social risk factors for disease and then argue for pandemic planning to include a social justice approach, partnering with at-risk communities, and giving preference in distribution of resources.

    How to use this resource:

    • Governments can use this to inform decision making around planning and distribution of resources
    • Public health and community organizations can derive evidence from this to recommend actions in government responses


    DeBruin D, Liaschenko J, and Marshall MF. Social Justice in Pandemic Preparedness. Am J Public Health. 2012 April; 102(4): 586–591.