TUESDAY, JUNE 27, 2017

Study examines public behavior during H1N1 pandemic

The recently-published results of a new Harvard study concluded that a significant portion of the American public may not be willing to get immunized with another new flu vaccine, according to a Homeland Security Today news report.

The study, titlted "The Public’s Response to the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic," which was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, noted that “between July, when discussions about vaccine availability increased, and October when a limited amount of vaccine became available, the public was divided over whether they would get vaccinated.”

Roughly half - 46 to 57 percent - of the public said they expected to get the vaccine, according to the Homeland Security Today report. However, a higher percentage of parents - approximately 59 to 70 percent - said they expected to get their children vaccinated, according to the study.

“In making their decision,” the Harvard study stated, “some people appeared to think there was a trade-off between accepting the perceived risk associated with the illness and accepting any perceived risk associated with the vaccine. Sixty percent of adults who initially said they did not intend to get the vaccine for themselves and parents who initially said they did not intend to get the vaccine for their children also said that they would change their mind if ‘there were people in [their] community who were sick or dying from influenza A (H1N1).’”

One of the major reasons people said they would not or might not get the H1N1 vaccine was concerns about the safety of the vaccine.