PRINCETON, NJ -- As government officials scramble to supply enough H1N1 vaccine for all who need it, one out of five parents (20%) say they have attempted to get vaccinations for a child but have been unable to do so.
These results are from a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Nov. 6-8 with 1,551 adults, including 448 parents of children under 18. The survey finds 17% of parents reporting that at least one of their children has already received the vaccine, while a much smaller 5% of adults say they themselves have been vaccinated.
"Americans appear to place about equal blame on the federal government and the drug companies that produce the vaccine for the problems with getting swine flu vaccine to all those who would like to get it."
Although 5% of adults say they have received the vaccine, 14% of adults believe they are in one of the priority groups "the government has said should be the first to get the swine flu vaccine." It is unclear just how well Americans understand who is and is not in a priority group. (Vaccine priority groups as established by the government include pregnant women, household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, all people from 6 months to 24 years of age, and persons aged 25 through 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from flu.)
Adult vaccination is in theory focused just on those in priority groups, but the survey data show that over half of those who have received a vaccination either say they don't know whether they are in a priority group, or say they are not in one.
Why haven't more American adults been vaccinated against the swine flu? Those who have not yet received a vaccination were asked to choose among four possible explanations. Thirty percent of American adults say simply that they do not think they need the vaccine. Seventeen percent say they tried to get the vaccine but were unable to, while about equal numbers say they didn't try because they didn't think they would be able to get the vaccine, or because they thought the vaccine would be potentially harmful.
A majority of Americans say the federal government is doing a good job of keeping Americans informed about the risks and spread of swine flu, and about the ways to avoid getting or spreading the illness. The government gets much lower marks on providing the country with adequate supplies of the vaccine, with the majority saying it is doing a poor job in this regard.
Americans appear to place about equal blame on the federal government and the drug companies that produce the vaccine for the problems with getting swine flu vaccine to all those who would like to get it. Sixty-two percent say the drug companies have a great deal or a moderate amount of blame, while 58% say this about the federal government.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,551 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Nov. 6-8, 2009, as part of Gallup Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. These questions were asked of random half-samples for three nights of Gallup Daily tracking, which interviews 1,000 U.S. adults each night.
For results based on the sample of 448 parents of children under age 18, the maximum margin of error is ±6 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones and cellular phones.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.