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Bigger worry than the flu?


Public, doctors unsure of new H1N1 vaccine


October 07, 2009
Despite — or maybe because of — the fact there's a lot of information floating around about the swine (H1N1) flu, people are widely concerned and confused about the prospect of getting vaccinated.

"They want me to tell them not to give it to their kids yet," said Dr. Hope Ring of Charlton Family Practice, referring to the patients, especially parents, she's seen recently. She noted patients ask questions about whether its safe, how long its been studied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and so forth.

Those questions reflect her own concerns as a doctor and a parent; Ring noted she's not sure yet whether she'll vaccinate her own children or herself.

"I'd rather see what happens for a couple weeks, see a million people vaccinated with no problems before I give it to my patients," she said. "I'm concerned that this is an unknown vaccine to treat a disease that has no major effect on healthy people."

Ring isn't alone. A Consumer Reports survey last month found such concerns are widespread in the American public. At that time, 34 percent "definitely planned" to get vaccinated, while 21 percent "said they would not." Half didn't know whether they'd vaccinate their children, and 14 percent "said they definitely would not," according to the magazine's Web site.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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