A Fox News poll released Thursday finds that even though about half of Americans are concerned about catching H1N1, few say they have stopped shaking hands when they greet friends to keep from catching the flu.
The most popular alternative for those who might want to avoid the hand shake? A friendly pat on the back.
Forty percent of Americans say a pat on the back is the best replacement for the handshake during flu season. The fist bump came in a distant second, at 13 percent. Hardly any people liked the idea of saluting, 5 percent, bowing, 5 percent, or doing an elbow-to-elbow greeting, four percent, instead of shaking hands.
All in all, 46 percent of the public says they are "very" or "somewhat" concerned about personally catching the H1N1 virus. Most of those who are worried plan to get vaccinated, 66 percent.
Young people under age 30 and seniors ages 65 and over are two groups most likely to say they are concerned about catching the H1N1 flu. Even so, seniors are significantly more likely to say they plan to get vaccinated than young people.
Overall, 44 percent of Americans say they plan to get vaccinated against the H1N1 virus, that's down from 53 percent last month (15-16 September 2009).
The drop in those planning to get vaccinated may be due to concern over the testing and safety of the vaccine and the potential side effects.
While 46 percent think the vaccine is safe, 35 percent think there are too many potential risks and another 19 percent are unsure. Fifty-six percent of those who don't plan to get vaccinated say they think it is too risky.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from October 13 to October 14. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
Few people — 15 percent — say they have stopped shaking hands or changed how they greet friends as a way to prevent catching the flu. Most people are keeping with their traditional greeting, 84 percent.