November 18th, 2009
11:47 AM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority of adult Americans don't want H1N1 flu shot

Washington (CNN) - More than half of all adult Americans say they don't want to get the H1N1 flu vaccine, according to a new national poll.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday also indicates that the number of adults who have tried to get the vaccine but were turned away is higher than the number of adults who have gotten a swine flu shot.

CNN Radio: CNN Polling Director Keating Holland breaks down the results

According to the poll, 55 percent of adults don't want to get the swine flu vaccine, and don't plan to get a shot. Another one in five say they want to get inoculated but haven't taken any steps to do so, 14 percent want a shot and have tried to get it but have been unsuccessful. Just 7 percent have been inoculated for H1N1.

Why are more than half of all Americans shunning the vaccine?


"The perception that the vaccine has dangerous side effects is the top reason," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Roughly half of those who don't want a swine flu shot say that the possibility of side effects is one reason why they don't plan to get the vaccine. That works out to 28 percent of the adult population who don't plan to get inoculated due to the risk of dangerous side effects."

So far officials of the National Institutes of Health say that in clinical trials they've seen no serious side effects and that study subjects who have been immunized have generated a good response.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for certain high-priority groups because they are more likely to have serious complications if they develop swine flu. These groups include: pregnant women; caregivers and household contacts of children younger than 6 months; everyone between the ages of 6 months and 24 years; and people ages 25 to 64 with existing health problems.

One in four American adults say they don't plan on getting a shot because they are not in a high-risk group, with 21 percent indicating they don't plan on getting vaccinated because they only go to a doctor when they are sick. Most of those respondents are men.

What about the 14 percent who have unsuccessfully tried to get the vaccine?

"Some say they don't know where to go - that works out to 4 percent of the total adult population who want to get inoculated but haven't been able to locate a medical facility that is giving swine flu shots," adds Holland. "A bigger group, 5 percent of the total population, say that they found a facility with the vaccine were turned away because they were not in a high-risk group or for some other reason. And 3 percent of all adults say they found a facility that had the vaccine but it ran out before they got there."

Add together those last two groups, and the number of Americans who actively sought the vaccine but were turned away for some reason is 8 percent of the total adult population, roughly the same number as the 7 percent who have been inoculated so far.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Full results (pdf)

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser and Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: CNN Polls
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Jeff

    Meh...people who need flu shots have weak immune systems. =P

    November 18, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. mjm

    Weren't Democrats saying that 4-5 million Americans were going to die if they didn't get the H1N1 flu shot? Not...so...much.

    I don't think people bought into the H1N1 hysteria. The threat was hyped up just so they could push the public option.

    Besides, it's a mild flu. The vaccination is only 30% affective. Not worth the risk from the adjuvant found in vaccines. Adjuvants actually impair your immune system. Plus when you get a viral vaccine it contains foreign animal and possibly foreign human DNA. No thanks.

    Once again, Dems over exaggerated the dangers we face all for the sake of advancing their agenda.

    November 18, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Fitz in Texas

    My guess it's more like Americans CAN'T get the H1N1 flu shot because once again this administration didn't do their job.

    November 18, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. hobart

    Part of the public indifference to the vaccine might be that we haven't been able to get it yet, and that the infection rate is still pretty small. In my city of 250,000, only about 2000 doses have been available to the general public so far.

    If the vaccine does become available, I'll get one. I've seen the H1N1 flu really kick some friends and their kids in the butt for a week or so, and I'd rather avoid it if possible.

    November 18, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. JIM carroll internetfreepress

    We need to create a Reserve-Retraining work force to solve the unemployment problem. I have had a plan for forty years. Read it at internetfreepress.com. See for your self.

    November 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. SocialismBad

    Thousands have already died because these shots weren't available when the government said they would be. Not a word in the press about these needlessly lost lives because the government dropped the ball. If this had been a real pandemic, I'm sure the press would have covered up the government incompetence as well. Now these same idiots want to run my healtchcare system??? That's an offer I can refuse!

    November 18, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    " Enjoy the rationing."

    Yeah, why not? We've been enjoying it for 60-70 years. What's more, apparently, 45,000 people were so thrilled with the rationing last year that they up and died from it.

    November 18, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. A in NJ

    People, people, people. Stop the blame game. President Obama, like Bush, Clinton, Bush and all presidents before them have to deal with the American citizen. A bunch of whinning, nothing is every right, my arm hurts, I want that, babies!!!!! H1N1 is here, and we need to have a little faith that a caring, intelligent leader, like our current President and his administration will make the best decisions they can based on the facts available.

    Its shocking that Americans will believe anything when it leads to to war or fighting; but nothing when it comes to helpping each other and finding was to get along with others. How sad we are!!! 😦

    November 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. JIM carroll

    I have a plan that will solve the unemployment problem .Read about it at internetfreepress.

    November 18, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. JIM carroll

    Why do you not care about solving the unemployment problem?

    November 18, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. DK Murphy

    I agree with some of the other posters on here. I'm not in a high risk category and don't see the need to introduce additional toxins to my body. We all have to deal with some illness in our lives. I've never had a flu shot, just figure I'll fight the flu. Save the vaccination for the folks who really need it.

    November 18, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. Bigdeal

    I got a h1 shot last saturday, just walked in, paid my money and got the shot, have had no adverse reactions or complications. Can't afford to be off a week with the flu, have to work to pay for all of those who don't.

    November 18, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. JIM carroll

    People are afraid of it.

    I have had a plan for forty years that will solve the unemployment problem. Why will you not go to the internetfreepress,.com and read it?
    Solving the unemployment problem is the key to a healthy economy.

    November 18, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. rachel

    I passed on it, no thanks I will take my chances

    November 18, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves,and pray,and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land. 2 Chron. 7 S Callahan

    It's a trust issue...in my area we already have a young adult female who developed shot induced Lupus from the H1N1 shot (confirmed).
    The relaibility of the drug has not been proven; nor the potential side effects made clear for an informed decision. As well, there is the issue of the "T" included in the drug and it's known past effects, along with those allergic to egg product. Lots of reasons for the Whys.

    November 18, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Scott

    Wow, so many people are misinformed. There are no adjuvants, aluminum, or squalene in any of the US versions of the shot! Please do your research.

    November 18, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. B

    No trust in Government..

    November 18, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Right Leaning Independent

    I am not worried about the side effects that may or may not be present today. I am more concerned about the ones that will show up in a few years! I prefer not being the guniea pig for this on the fly lab test...

    November 18, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. mark

    most likely widespread distribution will take as long as the decision making process on troops for afghanistan...resulting in more dead Americans in both cases. good job obama...

    November 18, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Paul Ernest Show

    It does not surprise me. It is a reflection of the general cynism that Americans view government and insitutions. I hear it everyday. You have people who will not even brush their teeth because they believe toothpastes have elements in them that can kill them and both government and the paste industry are aware of it and do not care. the list goes on and on. Misinformation, miseducation? Yes, I believe so.

    November 18, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. Michelle

    I do not want the HIN1 vaccine nor do I want the flue shot. What I cant seem to fathom about this swine flu " is that, hundreths/thousangths more ppl die of the regular flu yearly, compare to how many ppl have died of the "swine flue" since it came about. I have no trust in whats going on. There is more to this swine flu than we think. I'll continue to wash my hands whn needed, and avoid putting them in my face.

    November 18, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Liberty Queen

    The H1N1 so-called vaccine contains Mercury, folks. Furthermore, Baxter, located in Austria and makers of the vaccine, contaminated the vaccine and sent it to other European countries, including the Czech republic which was smart enough to test it on Ferrets which died immediately. Gee, I wonder why?

    November 18, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Tracy Edwards

    I don't know about anyone else, but my reasons for getting it for me or my family are: 1) Mercury; and 2) The fact that the government has shielded the drug companies from liability should there be any ill effect.

    November 18, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. g

    don,t realy care i got mine

    November 18, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. Pee Wee

    The vaccine shortage is due to the patent holders not allowing other parties who are perfectly capable of producing the vaccine to do so. Same with the Tamiflu shortage. This is the free market that you want to run your healthcare? Global capitalism at its finest. Have a nice day!

    The greedy pharma guys foregoing profits and NOT producing, or not selling rights to other producers to maximize profits?

    Say it isn't so. I would think you'd be congratulating them in this instance.

    November 18, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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