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Most Californians Primed to Get Flu Shots

Latinos Most Worried About Getting Sick

New America Media, News Report, Annette Fuentes Posted: Oct 06, 2009

More than seven in 10 Californians say they would roll up their sleeves and get a flu shot if their doctors recommended it, according to a poll released Tuesday by The Field Poll.

But 27 percent say they are unlikely to get a shot, despite medical recommendations.

With news media full of stories about the coming flu season and the release this week of vaccinations for the H1N1 flualso called the swine fluthe poll surveyed Californians on their attitudes about the flu and the states ability to handle it.

Overall, 51 percent of respondents said they were somewhat or very concerned that they or someone in their household would get the virus. But worries varied by gender, race and ethnicity.

Latinos are most concerned about the flu, with 33 percent of those surveyed saying they are very concerned. Of African Americans and Asians polled, 26 percent and 23 percent respectively reported being very concerned about getting the flu, compared to just 14 percent of whites. And while 15 percent of men expressed that worry, 23 percent of women did.

The Field Poll director Mark DiCamilo said the higher anxiety among Latinos was not surprising given the early outbreak of H1N1 in Mexico. They have closer ties to Mexico and probably have friends and relatives whove had the flu, so they are more worried about getting it.

The poll also showed a high level of confidence in the states public health system, with 67 percent saying they are very or somewhat confident that the system will respond to any flu outbreak effectively.

However, the poll findings offer some cause for concern among public health officials, DiCamillo said. Of the 72 percent who say they would get a flu shot, 46 percent were very likely and 26 percent said they were somewhat likely. That top group could reliably be counted on to be vaccinated, he said, but the other group is a question mark.

I also concern myself with the 26 percent, he said. Are they giving lip service or do they really intend to do it? The public outreach needs to be made to the bottom-tier groups.

DiCamillo said that many among those responding as unlikely to get flu shots might have some fears about the safety of vaccinations. But recent bursts of attention from the news media has focused public attention on the need for flu shots, so he anticipates growing willingness to be vaccinated.
The Field Poll plans a follow-up survey on the flu for December to track changes in attitudes.

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