Public Views of H1N1 Vaccine

Public Views of H1N1 Vaccine

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FIELD DATES: September 14 – 20, 2009


  • Public mixed on getting H1N1 vaccine, but interest may jump if outbreak is severe – About six in ten adults were not “absolutely certain” they would get the H1N1 vaccine for themselves, including 41% who said they would not get it, 6% who said they don’t know if they would get it, and 11% who said they were planning to get it but may change their mind. About four in ten parents (44%) were not “absolutely certain” that they would get the vaccine for their children, including 21% who would not get it, 7% who don’t know, and 16% who said they were planning to get it but may change their mind. If there were people in their community who were sick or dying from H1N1, six in ten (60%) who said they do not think they’ll get the vaccine would change their mind and get it for themselves or their child.
  • Major reasons for not getting H1N1 vaccine or being unsure – Those who were not “absolutely certain” they will get the H1N1 vaccine cited the following as the top “major” reasons for their thinking: (1) they are concerned about getting side effects from the vaccine (30%); (2) they don’t think they are at risk of getting a serious case of the illness (28%); and (3) they think they could get medication to treat H1N1 if they do get sick (26%). The top “major” reasons cited by parents who are not “absolutely sure” they will get the vaccine were that (1) they are concerned about side effects of the vaccine (38%); (2) they are concerned that their children could get other illnesses from the vaccine (33%); and (3) they do not trust public health officials to provide correct information about the safety of the vaccine (31%).
  • Safety concerns – Only about a third (33%) of the public saw the H1N1 vaccine as very safe “generally for most people to take.” By comparison, the figure is 57% for the seasonal flu vaccine.
  • Concerns about outbreak on the rise – Public concern about a fall or winter outbreak of H1N1 rose since June. Roughly three-quarters of the public (76%) believed there will be widespread cases of H1N1 in the fall or winter with people getting very sick. More people were also concerned that they or someone in their immediate family will get sick from H1N1 during the next 12 months (52% in later September, as compared to 38% in June).

METHODS AND SAMPLE: Telephone poll conducted with a representative national sample of 1,042 adults age 18 and over, including oversamples of non-Hispanic African Americans and Hispanics. 144 non-Hispanic African Americans and 126 Hispanics were interviewed.