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Medical ethics experts identify, address key issues in H1N1 pandemic
Date:9/23/2009

conflicted when it comes to allocating medicines. While 59% believe every Canadian should have an equal chance of receiving antivirals, 94% say health care providers should receive priority in a pandemic, while 89% believe children should be given second priority.

Participants suggested predetermined guidelines or criteria could help decision-makers formulate concrete allocation decisions in the context of an actual pandemic influenza.

As well, there should be an appeals process open to persons denied resources and all decisions taken should be transparent in order to engender a sense of public trust.

Should time not permit preliminary deliberation on allocation criteria, participants felt one appointee should make decisions since efficiency would become vital.

Finally, public participants expressed skepticism about the capacity of Canada's health care system to respond effectively to an influenza pandemic. They noted that priority setting is already a challenge in Canadian health care and that an outbreak of H1N1 would simply highlight and exacerbate that weakness.

Despite this, approximately 91% of survey participants identified saving lives as the most important goal of pandemic influenza preparations, with 41% endorsing saving lives solely in Canada as the highest priority and 50% endorsing saving lives globally as the highest priority.

H1N1 vaccinations

Coercion in vaccination policy could range from aggressive marketing campaigns, to introducing policies that exclude unvaccinated individuals, to introducing mandatory vaccination.

In order for public health officials to justify the more coercive measures, they need scientific evidence that supports the population health benefits of the vaccination program.

"Arguably, the greater the evidence for population health benefit, the more coercion is permitted," according to the papers.

"To determine the ethical pr
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Contact: terrycollins@rogers.com
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
University of Toronto Joint Center for Bioethics
Source:Eurekalert

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