Washington More than half of the many Americans with a relative who is at high risk of danger from getting the flu say they're worried about the vaccine shortage, according to an Associated Press poll about the crisis that has health officials scrambling for solutions and politicians blaming each other.
The U.S. flu vaccine shortage became public two weeks ago when British regulators cited contamination problems in closing one of the two companies that make vaccine for the U.S. market. That nearly cut in half the 100 million doses U.S. officials were expecting.
Healthy Americans were urged to forgo shots so there would be enough for those at highest risk from influenza -- children from 6 months to 23 months, the elderly, the chronically ill, pregnant women, certain health care workers and a few other groups. And the flu vaccine crisis has spilled into the presidential campaign.
More than four in 10 Americans, 42 percent, say they or someone in their family are at high risk from the flu, according to the poll conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs. In that high-risk group, 54 percent said they were worried about being able to get the shot.
"This worries me for my father because he's 84 and he had a stroke," said Oliver Guzman, Blue Island, Ill. "We've been trying to find out where we can get them."
A third of all Americans say they're worried that someone in their family who needs a flu shot will not be able to get one. Women and people over age 50 were most likely to be worried.