Poll: Most Americans Not Concerned About Swine Flu

By Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 19, 2009; 10:16 AM

Most Americans are either "not too" or "not at all" worried about the swine flu hitting home and broad majorities have confidence the government and local health providers will be able to effectively deal with an outbreak, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Eager to stem the spread of the H1N1 virus, several federal agencies joined forces today to release new guidelines for businesses to use in the upcoming flu season.

A key component in the federal response is the swine flu vaccine currently in production, and in the poll, 55 percent of Americans say they are apt to get the vaccine for themselves or someone in their household. Stipulating a doctor's recommendation, that percentage jumps to 65 percent.

But the government has to battle some complacency: Only about one in eight Americans is very worried that swine flu will affect his or her family, with more than twice as many "not at all" concerned. Overall, more than six in 10 are not worried.

The limited concern does not appear related to the general confidence in the federal government and local hospitals and health agencies to handle the virus, as those who expect high performance are no more or less worried than others.

In general, nearly three-quarters have confidence the government can respond effectively to a swine flu outbreak in this country; more than eight in 10 say so about their local health agencies.

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