Most Americans do not intend to get the swine flu vaccine, assume the pandemic is over and think the flu threat was overblown, according to a poll released Friday by the Harvard School of Public Health.
As of the end of January, only about a fifth of all Americans had had swine flu shots, according to that poll and data released separately by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And, even though this flu hit children and teenagers the hardest, only about 40 percent of them have had the shots. That figure could improve because 13 percent of adults surveyed by Harvard told pollsters that they still intended to get their children vaccinated.
Most parents who did not get shots said they felt the threat had passed. The second-most-common reason was fear of the vaccine, even though monitoring of the first 60 million doses showed no unusual rate of side effects.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC's director of immunization and respiratory disease, who in early January urged all Americans to get shots, put a brave face on the low figures, saying she was "encouraged" because more children got shots than ever previously got regular flu shots.