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Nearly half of Americans believe H1N1 outbreak is over, poll finds
Date:2/5/2010

Boston, MA The latest poll from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) shows that almost half of Americans believe the H1N1 flu outbreak is over (44%), and levels of concern about getting sick with the virus continue to decline. Few (18%) think it is "very likely" there will be another widespread outbreak of the H1N1 virus in the U.S. during the next 12 months, although a larger share of the population (43%) does say such an outbreak is "somewhat likely." After an initial period of vaccine shortage, 70% of adults said there is now enough vaccine in their community for everyone who wants it. The national poll was conducted January 20-24, 2010.

At this point, more than half of parents (53%) either got the vaccine for their children (40%) or intend to get it before the end of February 2010 (13%). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had identified children as a priority group for the vaccine. Among adults, 37% either got the H1N1 vaccine for themselves (21%) or intend to do so before February ends (16%). If perceptions that the outbreak is over spread, those who now say they intend to get the vaccine may ultimately decide not to. The poll also revealed a substantial share of adults who said they have not gotten the vaccine and do not intend to (61%).

"Many parents heeded the public health message to vaccinate their children against this virus, which hit young people unexpectedly hard," 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. "But there remains a steady core of adults who, regardless of messaging and other efforts, has chosen not to get the H1N1 vaccine. This group's set of attitudes has proven very difficult for public health officials to change."

The poll, which examines the American public's attitudes and response to distribution of H1N1 vaccine this winter,
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Contact: Robin Herman
rherman@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-4752
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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