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Public Tells Health Care Workers: Get Your H1N1 Flu Vaccine!

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health finds nearly 90% of public supports required H1N1 vaccination for health care workers in case of outbreak, while only 38% of health care workers intend to get vaccinated

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As H1N1 influenza vaccine begins to be shipped across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasize getting the first doses to high-priority groups. One such group is health care workers. A report released today by the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health shows 87 percent of the public believes health care workers should be required to be vaccinated against H1N1 flu in case of an outbreak, while only 38 percent of health care workers intend to get the H1N1 flu vaccine.

"We have heard from public health experts and health care workers -- and now we see how strongly the public feels about their health care workers getting vaccinated against H1N1 flu," says Matthew Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the poll and associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the U-M Medical School. "The public clearly expects health care workers to lead by example."

The poll also finds that, even among health care workers, there are misconceptions about vaccination and treatment for both seasonal and H1N1 flu.

Results show health care workers were more likely than other adults polled to say they would not get vaccinated against H1N1 flu because there are medications to treat H1N1 illness, and because they plan to get the seasonal flu vaccine and therefore believe they would not need the H1N1 flu vaccine.

"The belief that seasonal flu vaccine will protect against H1N1 is a misconception. The seasonal flu vaccine and H1N1 flu vaccine protect against different viruses. You need to get vaccinated against both to be protected against both," says Davis. "In addition, relying on medications to treat H1N1 flu is a gamble, especially since there have been isolated cases of resistance to the most commonly used drug, and there may not be adequate supplies of medication to treat all who get sick. That means vaccination is likely our best choice for controlling H1N1 flu."

Because health care workers do not have a strong track record of vaccination against seasonal flu, hospital directors and in some cases public health officials (for example, New York State) have decided to mandate H1N1 flu vaccination for health care workers. There has been vocal opposition to this idea from some health care worker groups.

"The public expects health care workers to be vaccinated against H1N1 flu -- whether that occurs through voluntary efforts or mandates," says Davis, who is also professor of public policy at the U-M Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. "No one can be sure about how severe H1N1 flu will be and how many lives it will affect. But the public is relying on health care workers to be prepared -- not just with hand-washing and masks, but with the vaccine that will soon be available."

The poll surveyed 2,365 adults from Aug. 13 - 31, 2009, across the United States.





Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- general information about H1N1 influenza

Methodology: This report presents findings from a nationally representative household survey conducted exclusively by Knowledge Networks, Inc, for C.S. Mott Children's Hospital via an Internet-based method used in many published studies. The survey was administered in August 2009 to a randomly selected, stratified group of adults aged 18 and older (n=2,365) from the Knowledge Networks standing panel that closely resembles the U.S. population (health care workers n=246). The sample was subsequently weighted to reflect population figures from the Census Bureau. The survey completion rate was 68 percent among panel members contacted to participate. The margin of error is plus or minus 1 to 3 percentage points for the main analysis. For results based on subgroups, the margin of error is higher.

To learn more about Knowledge Networks, visit

Purpose/Funding: The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health -- funded by the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases and part of the CHEAR Unit at the U-M Health System -- is designed to measure major health care issues and trends for U.S. children and their families. For this particular topic, additional funding was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE U-M C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

SOURCE U-M C.S. Mott Children's Hospital
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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