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CDC's swine flu toll: 4,000 dead, 22 million ill

LAURAN NEERGAARD | 11/16/2009, 12:05 a.m.

The estimate of child deaths may seem especially surprising, considering the CDC's conservative count of lab-confirmed pediatric deaths a week ago was 129.

"We don't think things have changed from last week to this week," Schuchat stressed, explaining the importance of looking beyond those lab counts. It's "a better estimate for the big picture of what's out there."

The question now is what effect those estimates will have on a public that largely views swine flu as not that big a threat.

The AP-GfK poll, conducted last weekend, found just 23 percent of responders - and 27 percent of parents - were very likely to keep seeking vaccine.

Stephanie Hannon of Douglas, Mass., decided to get a swine flu vaccine for just one of her three children, the one at extra risk because of asthma. She's concerned that the swine flu vaccine hasn't been studied long enough to justify for her less-at-risk youngsters.

"Only because of my other daughter's condition, I felt like I didn't have a choice," she said. "You never know if you make the right decision."

Swine flu targets young adults, too, yet just 16 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds were very likely to seek vaccine, down from 34 percent in September.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Nov. 5-9 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media. It involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,006 adults nationwide and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

AP Polling Director Trevor Tompson contributed to this report.