Most Say the Flu Vaccine Shortage Caused Small Impact

Everyone remembers the headlines: “Half of U.S. Flu Vaccine Withheld,” “Communities Agonize Over Flu Vaccine Distribution,” “Doctors in Frantic Quest for Flu Vaccine.”

A few months after the vaccine crisis began in 2004, a survey by The Quigley Corp., makers of Cold-Eeze, found that 68 percent of Americans thought the media and government overemphasized the impact and import of the shortage. While nearly half of the respondents thought this year’s cold and flu season was more severe compared to years past, 41 percent blamed it on a decrease in healthy habits while just 33 percent blamed the vaccine crisis.

The Quigley Corp. survey also found that nearly two-thirds of the respondents, or 62 percent, thought the workplace is where they are most likely to contract a cold or the flu. There might be some truth to this: Americans lose 126 million workdays each year due to the common cold. The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reported that the economic cost of this lost productivity approaches $25 billion.

Other findings of The Quigley Corp. survey:

Forty-six percent of respondents would rather work on Saturday than be at home with a cold. Twenty-five percent would rather do their taxes, while 18 percent say speaking in public is more appealing.

Eighty percent think it is better for office morale if a worker stays home when he or she is sick.

Michael Keaton’s “Mr. Mom” character edges out Clair Huxtable from “The Cosby Show,” 34 percent to 32 percent, as the TV or movie mother whom respondents would most like to care for them when they are home sick. Teri Hatcher’s Susan Mayer from ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” came in third with 17 percent of the votes.

Brad Pitt was the male celebrity most respondents (27 percent) would choose to care for them, while Angelina Jolie was the female superstar (10 percent).

The Quigley Corp. conducted the e-mail survey of more than 5,000 consumers during the week of Feb. 28, 2005.

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