An Ethical Problem -Massachusetts Vaccinating Prisoners First? | allnurses

An Ethical Problem -Massachusetts Vaccinating Prisoners First?

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    State legislators are already complaining that there are other, more vulnerable groups that deserve to be at the head of the line. That's probably true, but like a lot of things about flu, this one raises some knotty questions which we can choose to ignore but which we shouldn't. Let me raise a couple of them.

    The Sheriff defends this priority use on practical grounds. In the first phases of this outbreak, at a time when nobody knew how bad this variant of influenza was, there was a riot at the Middlesex Country Jail when an inmate who was diagnosed with swine flu was medically isolated. Ten more cases among inmates followed on short order. This was a jail designed to hold 160 prisoners but which, at the time of the outbreak, was holding 403. It was grossly overcrowded and indeed a perfect incubator for flu. Many of the inmates were incarcerated for non-violent crimes like drug possession and would soon be released into the community in any event, so the idea of breeding illness that is loosed on everyone else is a public health consideration. After this experience, which resulted in considerable damage to the facility, it's no wonder the Sheriff was concerned, just on pragmatic and management grounds.
    More commentary here :

    The Editors of Effect Measure are senior public health scientists and practitioners. Paul Revere was a member of the first local Board of Health in the United States (Boston, 1799). The Editors sign their posts "Revere" to recognize the public service of a professional forerunner better known for other things.