CDC creates ethics panel for flu shot distribution

Nov. 9, 2004, midnight | By Caitlin Garlow | 16 years, 2 months ago

This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from the The Washington Post article "U.S. Creates Ethics Panel on Priority for Flu Shots" by Gardiner Harris.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have created an ethics panel to help clearly define which high-risk patients will get the flu vaccine and to decide how to cope with the possibility of future epidemics, according to The Washington Post.

Most states have loosely defined guidelines for who should get the vaccine; high-risk cases include the elderly, children between six and 23 months and the chronically ill. However, shortages across the country have caused local and state health officials to choose who is the most high-risk, as vaccine supply is so limited that not everyone classified as high-risk can receive the vaccine, said The Washington Post.

After requests by health officials that the CDC create more rigid guidelines dictating how to most fairly distribute the vaccine, the agency created an ethics committee of four panelists, who first met on Oct. 25 via conference call.

The panel, including Dr. John Arras of the University of Virginia, Robert Levine of Yale University, Kathleen Kinlaw of Emory University and Thomas Beauchamp of Georgetown University, agreed that the chronically ill should have priority in vaccination.

However, the panel could not come to a consensus over whether healthy elderly or young children should be inoculated first. According to The Washington Post, young children are more likely to get the disease, while elderly are more likely to die of it. Currently, the panel is trying to decide which group to inoculate first in order to save the most years. The CDC will also have to decide in the coming weeks where to send the next Aventis Pasteur delivery of 26 million doses.

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Caitlin Garlow. Caitlin is a second-semester senior at last. Her favorite things include making fun of her homeless sister and hunting down her clothes in other people's closets. More »

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