No Flu Shot For Some At-Risk Kentucky Inmates

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Faced with a 700 percent markup for flu vaccine, Kentucky prison officials will skip the inoculation of some at-risk prisoners in favor of “fiscal responsibility,” the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. The department is seeking less expensive vaccine, said prison spokeswoman Lisa Lamb. Attorney General Greg Stumbo’s office is investigating whether prisons are victims of price gouging. The decision “will increase the risk of infection and potentially increase medical and hospitalization costs, depending upon the severity,” Lamb said. “But we have a fiscal responsibility to taxpayers and the use of their tax dollars and therefore have to decide what is a reasonable expenditure and what is unreasonable.”

The state has only 400 flu shots for prisons. Those will be given to 145 medical staff and as many of the highest-risk inmates as possible, said Dr. Scott Haas, medical director for the state Department of Corrections. The highest-risk inmates include 190 who are 65 or older, 499 diabetics and 100 who are HIV-positive, he said. “We know people are going to get sick, that’s a given,” Haas said. “What we want to do is make sure there are no deaths.”

Link: http://www.courier-journal.com/localnews/2004/10/28ky/A1-prisonflu1028-6253.html

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