7 Nov 2009

Poll: Swine flu worries Italians

People are worried about the swine flu and its complications. They don't trust health authorities and don't believe the vaccine is safe. According to a poll of La Repubblica, 57% of people are very or quite worried about the new virus. The majority, 54%, expect to become ill. A lot of people, 60%, will consult the family doctor in case of fever, while a quarter (25%) will rush to the hospital and 15% will stay home without asking anyone. A large 60% are very or quite worried about complications, 31% a little worried, 7% not worried. About what to do in case of catching the swine flu, only 10% feel to be well informed, 26% quite informed, 32% a bit, 31% don't have any instructions. A staggering 56% are against vaccination, 33% are positive, and 11% don't know what to do. The majority (51%) think that the vaccine is not safe, not tested and can be dangerous, 27% think it's safe. 41% think the government is telling the truth, while 42% no.
There are at least three problems about communication during the swine flu pandemic. First, it looks like communication involved the general public and not only the high risk group. Even worse, it  must have been confusing. So, a lot of people (60%) feel unnecessary anxiety about severe complications. Secondly, many people (63%) are insure about what to do, and this is another failure of the communication process. Last, the flu vaccine is quite unpopular, even though each year in Italt the seasonal vaccination campaign takes place.
The poll is up-to-date, because people have been asked on November 3.

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