important strategies to reduce the spread of pandemic influenza need
public participation. To assess public receptivity to such strategies,
we compared adoption of preventive behaviours in response to the 2009
H1N1 influenza pandemic among the public in five countries and examined
whether certain non-pharmaceutical behaviours (such as handwashing) were
deterrents to vaccination. We also assessed public support for related
public health recommendations.
used data from simultaneous telephone polls (mobile telephone and
landline) in Argentina, Japan, Mexico, the UK, and the USA. In each
country, interviews were done in a nationally representative sample of
adults, who were selected by the use of random digit dial techniques.
The questionnaire asked people whether or not they had adopted each of
various preventive behaviours (non-pharmaceutical—such as personal
protective and social distancing behaviour—or vaccinations) to protect
themselves or their family from H1N1 at any point during the pandemic.
Two-tailed t tests were used for statistical analysis.
people were surveyed in each country except the USA where 911 people
were contacted. There were wide differences in the adoption of
preventive behaviours between countries, although certain personal
protective behaviours (eg, handwashing) were more commonly adopted than
social distancing behaviours (eg, avoiding places where many people
gather) across countries (53—89% vs 11—69%). These
non-pharmaceutical behaviours did not reduce the likelihood of getting
vaccinated in any country. There was also support across all countries
for government recommendations related to school closure, avoiding
places where many people gather, and wearing masks in public.
is a need for country-specific approaches in pandemic policy planning
that use both non-pharmaceutical approaches and vaccination.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Public Health Information Coalition.