Just 36 percent of adults polled say they received an influenza vaccine for the current flu season, and only 30 percent say they would get a special vaccine for the swine flu if one was made available, according to the latest University of Texas/Zogby International poll.
A dozen reasons for not getting the vaccination were listed but the main reason, cited by 41 percent of adults, is they did not think it was necessary, despite CDC recommendations that all but infants and those with a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome, or allergies to eggs, be vaccinated.
A surprising 38 percent are unvaccinated, not practicing good hygiene, and not restricting travel or mall shopping. This group tends to be male, younger, single, and less inclined to abide by quarantine. The same was true of 25 percent of health care workers polled, 28 percent of caregivers in nursing homes and 33 percent of those whose children are vulnerable due to asthma, diabetes, or HIV. Particularly concerning is that only 48 percent % of these children were vaccinated.
Just 18 percent of respondents nationwide rate the swine flu as being a severe threat in a new University of Texas/Zogby International poll, and the vast majority (97 percent) say they have not cut back on travel plans because of the outbreak. Moreover, 96 percent say they have not cut back on going to restaurants or malls because of the swine flu.
Respondents are split in their confidence of the government's ability to handle the potential crisis, with 40 percent saying they are confident and 35 percent saying they are not. Respondents are also split over whether or not the U.S. should close the border with Mexico, 41 percent say only if the situation worsens and is warranted, and 30 percent say right now. Twenty-one percent say the border with Mexico should never be closed.
"Public health authorities handled the H1N1 crisis well", said Dr Ward Casscells, the John Edward Tyson Distinguished Professor in Cardiology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and a Senior Scholar and Special Advisor to the President, Texas Heart Institute. "The charge that they over-reacted, or caused panic, is nonsense. The greater danger is complacency. People know the symptoms of flu, but most do not realize vaccination, treatment, and hygiene save lives. A new strategy is needed to educate and motivate the skeptical, cavalier, and defiant 'Killer Karls'."
The online survey of 1,442 adults was conducted May 4-6, 2009, and carries a margin of error of +/-2.6 percentage points.
Poll: Just 36 percent of adults get annual fu vaccine (5/14)
May 14, 2009