With H1N1 and flu vaccines on everyone’s minds, the November issue of The American Journal of Bioethics couldn’t be more timely. What do people think about the measures necessary to protect ourselves from flu? Do we, or more importantly should we trust our government to protect us in a pandemic?
Baum et al ask these questions and more and conclude that in a flu pandemic the public is likely to resist precisely those public health measures that work–like social distancing–because they are impractical and to be distrustful of our government.
Also in this issue is Zivotofsky and Jotkowitz’s response to Dignitas Personae, or “A Jewish Response to the Vatican’s New Bioethical Guidelines”, as they call it. Open Peer Commentators from all faiths, as well as secular authors, respond.
In this issue’s third target article, Burris and Davis consider the question of whether researchers have a responsibility to assess social risks of research prior to conducting it. Respondents to this Target Article come down on both sides: some concluding this is too burdensome for researchers, others concluding this is the work of an IRB and does not require additional empirical research, others arguing for precisely this kind of empirical data (more data, more data, more data).
So whether you are interested in pandemic flu, research ethics, or stem cells and religion–this issue of AJOB has something for you. Check it out today, and all month, on bioethics.net.
Summer Johnson, PhD