Bioterrorism and Smallpox Planning: Information and Voluntary Vaccination
Journal of Medical Ethics 2004 December; 30(6): 558-560
Although smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, there are fears that stocks of the virus manufactured for military purposes by the Soviet Union may have fallen into the hands of "rogue nations" or terrorists. Worries about bioterrorism have thus sparked debate about whether or not the smallpox vaccine, which can be dangerous, should be offered to the general public. Meaningful public debate on this issue requires expert information about the likelihood that the virus will in fact be used as a weapon. Informed voluntary individual decision making, about whether to get vaccinated if vaccine is made available to the public, would similarly require appreciation of the likelihood of attack. Public deliberation and private deliberation thus both require briefing by the intelligence community.
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Selgelid, Michael J. (2003-01)This article reviews the history of smallpox and ethical issues that arise with its threat as a biological weapon. Smallpox killed more people than any infectious disease in history--and perhaps three times more people ...