The Vaccine Dilemma

An ethical quandary: If the U.S. faced a deadly flu pandemic with only a limited supply of vaccine, who should get treated? Federal guidelines--and conventional wisdom--give priority to health-care workers, the youngest, the frail and the elderly. But Minnesota is the first state to suggest otherwise. A panel including government officials, doctors and ethicists concluded that inoculations should be given first to key workers like police and nurses, then to those who would respond best to treatment--healthy 15-to-40-year-olds, not infants or seniors. "A worst-case scenario poses the hardest questions," says panelist Karen Gervais, a health-care ethicist. This strategy "is intended to...

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