Allocating scarce resources during an influenza pandemic

Vaccine
Volume 29, Issue 17 pp. 3093-3362 (12 April 2011)
Review

Public engagement on ethical principles in allocating scarce resources during an influenza pandemic
Review Article   Pages 3111-3117
Tracey M. Bailey, Christina Haines, Rhonda J. Rosychuk, Thomas J. Marrie, Olive Yonge, Robert Lake, Ben Herman, Mark Ammann

Abstract
Objectives
To investigate the views of students, support staff and academic staff at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada on the allocation of scarce resources during an influenza pandemic to discover if there were any shared values.

Methods
A web-based questionnaire was circulated to students, support staff and academic staff asking them how they would rank the priority of eleven different groups for access to scarce resources. They were also asked to select one of seven priority access plans.

Results
The highest priority was given to health care workers by 89% of respondents, closely followed by emergency workers (85%). Only 12.7% of respondents gave politicians high priority. Respondents favored the “Save the most lives” priority access (39.9%) (N = 5220).

Conclusion
Current policies in place for the allocation of scarce resources during an influenza pandemic may not properly reflect the views of the general public. Further public consultation should be undertaken in order to uncover how they would allocate scarce resources.