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More than half of Chinese don't want swine flu shot: poll

Canadians wary of swine flu vaccine
Most Canadians are skeptical of the swine flu threat and of the vaccine to fight it, a survey suggested on Monday as the country's largest-ever vaccination program in Canada got underway. Fifty-one percent of 1,000 Canadians surveyed by polling firm Strategic Counsel for the daily Globe and Mail newspaper said they would not get vaccinated against the deadly A(H1N1) flu virus, while 49 percent said they wanted a flu shot. The poll gave no margin of error because the respondents answered voluntarily through an online survey. A similar survey in July showed 62 percent saying they planned to get a swine flu shot. The split reflects lingering concerns that the vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline has not been fully tested and that the influenza outbreak is not very serious, pollster Tim Woolstencroft told the newspaper. "There has been a real drop-off in the desire to have the vaccination shot," he said, due mostly to safety concerns and the view that health officials "have been crying wolf too many times" about the threat posed. The swine flu has so far contributed to 86 deaths in Canada, more than 1,500 hospitalizations and close to 300 critical care ward admissions, according to Health Canada. Even so, 59 percent of respondents said they believe the swine flu is no more dangerous than the common cold. Only seven percent thought it could be life-threatening. Aboriginals, youths and medical staff -- groups believed to be most at risk of serious infection -- received the first round of swine flu shots on Thursday. A national vaccination campaign kicked off Monday.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 26, 2009
More than half of all Chinese do not plan to be vaccinated against swine flu because they are unsure about the safety of the shot, according to a survey by state media published Monday.

The poll by the China Daily and popular web portal said more than 54 percent of the 2,000 respondents said they did not want the A(H1N1) vaccine -- a huge turnaround from two months ago, when 76 percent said they did.

"The vaccine has been developed and administered so quickly that I couldn't help questioning its quality and reliability," the paper quoted 36-year-old Zhang Lin, who refused the shot for her eight-year-old son, as saying.

China, which has the world's largest population at 1.3 billion people, has launched a mass swine flu vaccination campaign in a bid to stave off large outbreaks, especially as winter -- and the regular flu season -- sets in here.

But only 30 percent of those polled by the China Daily said they definitely would like to receive the shot. About 15 percent said they would make a decision based on what other people did.

The government has said it plans to inoculate five percent of the population, or 65 million people, against swine flu by year's end. So far, 300,000 people have received the vaccination.

More than 33,000 cases of A(H1N1) influenza had been reported as of Friday, according to health ministry figures, with the number of infections accelerating in recent weeks. Two deaths have so far been confirmed.

Health authorities have repeatedly warned they are facing a "grim" task of preventing outbreaks and keeping the death toll low.

"Tens of millions could be infected," the China Daily quoted Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as saying.

The World Health Organization said nearly 5,000 swine flu deaths had been recorded as of October 18.

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Obama declares swine flu emergency
Washington (AFP) Oct 24, 2009
President Barack Obama declared swine flu a "national emergency" on Saturday, as the United States reels from millions of cases of infection and more than 1,000 deaths. The emergency declaration, which Obama signed late Friday, lets doctors and nurses temporarily bypass certain federal requirements so they can better handle a spike in influenza A(H1N1) patients. The declaration comes ... read more

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