The proposed scenario in this discussion is very topical as many of the same elements were at-play during the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi and Lousiana. Dealing with possible national emergencies has become a main priority on all levels of government, from local and state involvement all the way up to the White House. It is very evident that having a prepared protocol of proceedures to handle as many credible situations as possible is essential in this modern age of bio-terrorism.In the case given, it is undetermined as to whether there is any consternation on Tim’s part about having any, or all of the details of his situation divulged.. and if so, how determined is he to stand his ground? The inference is that he wants some measure of confidentiality. This would be perfectly understandable, so the ethical question right away is, whose rights take priority.
. the individual, or the wider population-at-large. It wouldn’t appear that the mere fact of the incident being an act of bioterrorism would necessarily be a determinant in whether or not to force people to be vaccinated.The need to protect individual human rights in the United States is a cornerstone issue. I could find no specific law allowing such action, but proceedures do exist for dealing with such persons who may, for whatever reason, decide not to be vaccinated in what might be deemed an extreme emergency.
Those measures include quarantine and other methods of isolation. Of course, in the case of children whose parents refuse to have them vaccinated, those children would be prevented from attending school.On the other-hand, governments have a main purpose to serve the total society. And to that end, protecting citizens from infectious disease is a top priority. Seeing to it that everyone who might have been exposed gets notified, and giving them the opportunity to be vaccinated would be a critical mission. In Tim’s case, it wouldn’t necessarily be needed to tell people who he was, or what his name was.
It would be sufficient to contact all of the passengers on his flight and tell them of the exposure without specifying who it was.Even in his apartment complex, the notification can be done without alot of specifics as to whom it was that became ill, though that scenario would be easy to deduce by the residents. The same would be true with his co-workers at the restaurant, but patrons wouldn’t need to know any names. It would seem that the concept of the vaccinations being deemed “mandatory” would be inappropriate. Alternate measures, including complete isolation of the persons believed to have been exposed would appear to be acceptable, but the idea of being forced to receive any kind of treatment would be to ‘expose’ the various agencies to multi-leveled litigation.
Again, I could find no treatment that is currently considered to be mandatory for a patient to receive unless that person was incapable mentally. Since there would be no reason to believe that smallpox would render its’ victims mentally impaired prior to any advanced stage of the disease, it would be very difficult to defend the idea of making the vaccination mandatory just based simply on the fact that it was an attack act.