An Ethical Problem -Massachusetts Vaccinating Prisoners First?

  1. Quote from
    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.