When a bird flu pandemic occurs, experts estimate there will be only enough vaccine to protect one in every 10 Americans.
Now, an essay in the May 12 issue of Science is heating up the debate on who that lucky 10 percent should be.
Countering the federal government's policy of placing the elderly near the top of the list, two medical ethicists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) say that after doling out the vaccine to essential health workers, people between 13 and 40 years of age should be next in line to receive the shot.
What we are arguing is that younger people have more of their life to lead, and they ought to get higher priority," explained Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, chairman of the department of bioethics at The Clinical Center, which is part of the NIH.
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