Featured in OUPs ‘Best of 2018’ list

See OUP Philosophy's curated list of the most popular 2018 articles here.

Influenza Vaccination Strategies Should Target Children [freely available]
Ben Bambery, Thomas Douglas, Michael J Selgelid, Hannah Maslen, Alberto Giubilini, Andrew J Pollard, and Julian Savulescu

Strategies to increase influenza vaccination rates have typically targeted healthcare professionals (HCPs) and individuals in various high-risk groups such as the elderly. We argue that they should (instead or as well) focus on increasing vaccination rates in children. Because children suffer higher influenza incidence rates than any other demographic group, and are major drivers of seasonal influenza epidemics, we argue that influenza vaccination strategies that serve to increase uptake rates in children are likely to be more effective in reducing influenza-related morbidity and mortality than those targeting HCPs or the elderly. This is true even though influenza-related morbidity and mortality amongst children are low, except in the very young. Further, we argue that there are no decisive reasons to suppose that children-focused strategies are less ethically acceptable than elderly or HCP-focused strategies.

The Case Against Forced Methadone Detox in US Prisons [freely available]
Daniel D'Hotman, Jonathan Pugh, and Thomas Douglas

Methadone maintenance therapy is a cost-effective, evidence-based treatment for heroin dependence. In the USA, a majority of heroin-dependent offenders are forced to detox from methadone when incarcerated. Recent research published in The Lancet has demonstrated the negative health and economic outcomes associated with such policies (Rich, J. D., McKenzie, M., Larney, S., Wong, J. B., Tran, L., Clarke, J. et al. (2015). Methadone Continuation Versus Forced Withdrawal on Incarceration in a Combined US Prison and Jail: A Randomised, Open Label Trial. The Lancet, 386, 350–359). This novel evidence raises questions as to the justification for current policies of forced detox in American prisons. Opponents of methadone provision in prisons might offer arguments from retributivism, resource allocation and curative effectiveness to justify their position. This article contends that these arguments do not stand up to ethical scrutiny. In light of this, we hold that American policymakers should reform criminal justice policies to allow the initiation and continuation of methadone treatment in correctional settings. This would be consistent with both international recommendations and the example set by a number of other Western countries.