Half of Alabama’s adults dodge flu vaccine.
So far, just 17 percent of households report case of flu.

Auburn, February 10, 2010: Despite the best efforts of national and state health officials promoting flu inoculation, just 34 percent of Alabama adults told Auburn University pollsters that they have gotten flu shots this year. Another 15 percent of those interviewed by telephone during the January 4–14 statewide survey of 614 adults say they plan to get one. These results of the latest Ask Alabama Poll, conducted by Auburn’s Center for Governmental Services, mean that about one-half of the state’s adult population is unprotected from the seasonal or H1N1 strains of influenza, even as public health officials warn that the viral threat could grow in the Spring.

Men are much more likely (53 percent) than women (44%) to report having been inoculated or to have plans to be inoculated, although the men gain their advantage mostly in their plans to get a shot. The two sexes are comparable in reporting whether they have already had their shot. Older adults and households without children are somewhat more likely to have gotten flu shots than are younger householders and those with children. Affluent householders who feel good about the economy are more likely than the poor and economically struggling to have received a flu shot or made plans to get one. The inoculation rate for African-American adults was particularly low. Only 25 percent have already received shots and just 14 percent plan to get them.

Alabama adults may be deciding to skip flu shots because they don’t expect to contract the virus. In fact, just 17 percent of poll respondents told the Auburn researchers that anyone in their household had contracted influenza this season. But a higher rate of flu hit households with children. “Almost one fourth (24 percent) reported a case of flu,“ said David Hill, Associate Director of the Center for Governmental Services. “The higher rate of flu in households with children may possibly be explained by the lower rates of inoculation in those households.”

The poll did not distinguish between seasonal and H1N1innoculations in asking about flu shots.

The Ask Alabama survey results are based on telephone interviews conducted with a stratified random sample of 614 adult householders January 4-14, 2010.

The sample’s geographic, gender, race, and age distributions were weighted to be proportionate to the United States Census Bureau’s data for Alabama’s adult (18+ years of age) householders. Patrick Rose, Manager of the Center’s Survey Research Laboratory that conducted the interviews, said that poll results based on the full statewide sample have a margin of error of ±4 percentage points

The Ask Alabama Poll is to be conducted quarterly by the Center for Governmental Services, a unit of Auburn University Outreach that provides research, consulting and training to government agencies, not-for-profit associations, and private sector clients.


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