Attitudes of the general public and general practitioners in five countries towards pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines during season 2009/2010

PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e45450. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045450. Epub 2012 Oct 11.


Background: Vaccination coverage rates for seasonal influenza are not meeting national and international targets. Here, we investigated whether the 2009/2010 A/H1N1 pandemic influenza affected the uptake of influenza vaccines.

Methodology/principal findings: In December 2009/January 2010 and April 2010, 500 randomly selected members of the general public in Germany, France, the United States, China, and Mexico were surveyed by telephone about vaccination for seasonal and A/H1N1 pandemic influenza. Also, in April 2010, 100 randomly selected general practitioners were surveyed. Adult vaccine coverage in December 2009/January 2010 for A/H1N1 pandemic and seasonal influenza were, respectively, 12% and 29% in France, 11% and 25% in Germany, 41% and 46% in the US, 13% and 30% in Mexico, and 12% and 10% in China. Adult uptake rates in April 2010 were higher in Mexico but similar or slightly lower in the other countries. Coverage rates in children were higher than in adults in the US, Mexico, and China but mostly lower in Germany and France. Germans and French viewed the threat of A/H1N1 pandemic influenza as low to moderate, whereas Mexicans, Americans, and Chinese viewed it as moderate to serious, opinions generally mirrored by general practitioners. The recommendation of a general practitioner was a common reason for receiving the pandemic vaccine, while not feeling at risk and concerns with vaccine safety and efficacy were common reasons for not being vaccinated. Inclusion of the A/H1N1 pandemic strain increased willingness to be vaccinated for seasonal influenza in the United States, Mexico, and China but not in Germany or France.

Conclusions/significance: The 2009/2010 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic increased vaccine uptake rates for seasonal influenza in Mexico but had little effect in other countries. Accurate communication of health information, especially by general practitioners, is needed to improve vaccine coverage rates.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • China
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • France
  • General Practitioners*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Mexico
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Seasons
  • United States


  • Influenza Vaccines

Grant support

The study was funded by Sanofi Pasteur (Lyon, France). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.