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

inciples that govern an H1N1 vaccination program, it is first essential to determine the purpose of the program. Are public health officials primarily making the vaccine available to Canadians for their own protection? In this instance autonomy of decision-making and individual liberty would predominate as guiding principles. Under these circumstances there can be little justification of any coercion on the part of public health officials, in particular the use of mandatory vaccination legislation, and the government's reciprocal responsibilities to vaccine recipients are limited.

"Or is the objective of the program to reduce the population health effects of the virus? In this case principles of solidarity and the protection of the public from harm could predominate over individual liberty. Public health officials can be justified in introducing more coercive policies. However, accompanying this infringement of individual liberty is an increase in the government's reciprocal responsibilities to vaccine recipients."

Rarely, some individuals may be harmed by a mass vaccination program and "the more coercive the strategy, the greater are the reciprocal responsibilities of the state to the vaccine recipients.

"Two key elements of reciprocity would include the creation of enhanced (vaccine) safety and effectiveness post market surveillance and the introduction of a no-fault compensation program for post-vaccination adverse events."

Restrictive measures

Governments may need to limit three basic personal freedoms mobility, freedom of assembly, and privacy in order to protect the public good.

JCB authors ask readers to imagine an order by public health officials to close community centers and cancel all large public gatherings.

One family, whose two daughters were killed in a car accident, plans to hold a large memorial service with family and friends the following day with over 500 attend
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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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