By Frank James
For public health officials, it's a good news, bad news story. The good news is that a recent poll indicates that most parents, about three-quarters to be exact, who sought the vaccine against Swine Flu for their children were able to find it.
The bad news, however, is that of the parents who didn't plan to have their children vaccinated, 60 percent cited vaccine safety concerns as a reason.
Also, 40 percent of those recently surveyed said they were concerned about getting H1N1 flu over the next 12 months. That was down 12 percentage points from September.
An excerpt from a press release from the Harvard School of Public Health:
The poll, which examines the American public's response to the distribution of H1N1 vaccines this fall, is the seventh in a series on public views concerning the H1N1 flu outbreak undertaken by the Harvard Opinion Research Program at HSPH. The poll was conducted December 16-17, 2009.
"Now that the H1N1 vaccine is more widely available, public health officials who want to increase vaccination rates will need to focus more attention on convincing people who most need it of its safety," said Professor Robert Blendon, Director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program and an expert in understanding the public response to emergencies that involve health threats. "Findings here--like past polls--suggest that beliefs about safety have been difficult to change for a segment of the public."
The poll also found an increase in adult uptake of the vaccine since early November, but 55% of adults said they do not intend to get it. "Overall the poll results indicate that even with further efforts from public health officials, many people will not seek the H1N1 vaccine or get vaccinated," said Gillian SteelFisher, research scientist in the HSPH Department of Health Policy and Management and assistant director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program.