YONKERS, N.Y., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new Consumer Reports Health poll reveals a disconcerting proportion of "at risk" groups who will not get the flu vaccine this year. Of most concern, only 40% of Americans in the "work risk" category—meaning those who care for young children and those who work in residential nursing homes, hospitals, and other health care environments—said they would definitely get the vaccine this year, which combines the seasonal and the 2009 H1N1 (swine) flus, while 28% said they would definitely not get the vaccine.
"It's troubling to hear that people caring for young children, including infants, and the elderly are not planning on getting the vaccine. These health care workers are among the most likely to catch the disease and spread it to individuals in their care. And it's no secret that small children and the elderly are at high risk for complications and even death," said Orly Avitzur, M.D., medical adviser, Consumer Reports Health. Poll highlights and guidance for flu and other vaccines are available online at www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org.
The nationally representative poll, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, found additional examples of "at risk" populations living in a bubble. For example, only 45% of Americans considered "at health risk" said they definitely planned on getting the flu vaccine this year. This category includes people with lung conditions such as asthma, diabetics, people with heart conditions (except hypertension), those with immune system problems, and those with neurological or neuromuscular disease. All of these conditions are linked to an increased likelihood of flu-related complications. "We suspect that part of the problem involves a lack of understanding of one's own health risks—in fact, only 42 percent of those at health risk for flu complications described themselves as such," said Dr. Avitzur.
Only 51% of those in the "age-risk" category (i.e. those who are 65 and older) said they would definitely get the combined vaccine. About one-third (33 percent) of those 65 and older believed they were at high risk of seasonal flu complications.
Reasons for not getting this year's vaccine lead with the belief that the swine flu epidemic was overblown last year (45 percent), followed by concerns about side effects (44 percent) and safety of the vaccine (41 percent). Nearly one-third (28 percent) said they believed the vaccine doesn't work.
Some other poll highlights:
A total of 1,500 adults ages 18 and older were recruited via random digit dialing by Princeton Survey Research International. The margin of error is +/-2.9 percent.
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|SOURCE Consumer Reports|
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