Fewer Than a Third in U.S. Would Get Swine Flu Jab

Fewer than a third of U.S. adults would get a shot especially made to protect against the new H1N1 swine flu virus, according to a poll released on Thursday.

Most are simply not that worried about the new flu, which has spread around the globe, killed more than 60 people and brought the world to the brink of a pandemic, the poll of 1,442 adults found.

Only 36 percent said they got a vaccine against seasonal influenza this year, although virtually the whole population, especially everyone over 50, children, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions, are advised to get the immunization every year.

The World Health Organization estimates that seasonal flu is a factor in up to 500,000 deaths every year — 36,000 in the United States alone.

The poll by Zogby International and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston found that 38 percent not only were not vaccinated, but did not follow recommendations to wash or clean their hands frequently to prevent infection and were not restricting travel to Mexico.

Only 18 percent said the flu, which emerged in March, is a severe threat.

WHO officials will meet this week to decide whether to advise companies to go ahead and make a separate H1N1 vaccine to add to the vaccines being formulated to protect against seasonal influenza.