WASHINGTON (CNN) – The number of Americans who are worried about the H1N1 flu has more than doubled since May, according to a new national poll. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning also indicates that most Americans have confidence in the government's ability to prevent a nationwide epidemic.
Thirty-nine percent of people questioned say they are worried that they or someone in their immediate family will get the H1N1 flu, with 17 percent suggesting they were concerned but not anymore and 44 percent saying they've never been worried. That 39 percent who say they are worried is more than double the 17 percent who felt the same way in May.
"Back in May, concerns about the flu were ebbing because flu season in the U.S. was nearing its end," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But the flu didn't go away - it just moved to other places around the world. Now a new flu season is starting, and worries about H1N1 are back."
According to the poll, 59 percent are confident that the federal government can prevent a nationwide epidemic, with four in 10 not optimistic.
"That doesn't mean that the public thinks that the fight against the H1N1 flu will be easy - two-thirds of all adult Americans say they want to get a H1N1 flu shot if one is available, but only half think there will be enough vaccine to go around," adds Holland.
The two-thirds who say they would get a vaccine shot if one is available compares to the 53 percent who told a Gallup poll in 1976, the last time swine flu posed a serious threat, that they would get a swine flu shot.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Friday through Monday, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.