Feature

Swine flu shots for prisoners?

Controversy erupts over the feds’ decision to offer terrorism suspects the H1N1 vaccine—ahead of pregnant women

As Americans face an unnerving shortage of the swine flu vaccine, the Pentagon is offering shots to the 215 terrorism detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Meanwhile, several states are debating where their prisoners fall in the vaccine priority list, given that crowded jails notoriously breed flu bugs. Should inmates get vaccinated before law-abiding citizens? (Watch Rep. Bart Stupak (D- MI) announce an investigation into prisoners getting swine flu shots)

Terrorists shouldn’t outrank pregnant women: The Army’s rationale is that Gitmo detainees are at higher risk, says Stephen Hayes in The Weekly Standard. “Really?” As actually “at risk” Americans scramble for the “coveted” vaccine, there’s no way 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohamed should get priority over pregnant women—six times more likely to die from swine flu—and children.“The swine flu Democrats (Gitmo edition)”

We do have some obligation to prisoners: “Certainly there are more deserving groups” than prisoners, say the editors of ScienceBlogs’ Effect Measure. But whether at Guantanamo or in state lock-up, inmates are “near the center of the viral bulls-eye for swine flu.” The state must take responsibility for their survival—with or without public sympathy. “We locked ’em up. Now we own them.”“Swine flu prisoner’s dilemma”

Watch out—this is a just a taste of Obamacare in action: “Certainly, at a time of such acute shortages,” says Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), quoted in The Hill, Americans have to come before “terrorist detainees.” But “this is exactly the kind of misadministration of healthcare…that ought to give the American people great pause about [the Democrats’] massive government-run insurance plan.”“Pence to Pentagon: Rethink decision to offer H1N1 vaccine to Gitmo detainees”

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