Reasons Physicians Accepted or Declined Smallpox Vaccine, February Through April, 2003

Authors

  • Andrea L. Benin MD,

    Corresponding author
      Address correspondence to Dr. Benin: IE-61 SHM, P.O. Box 208088, New Haven, CT 06520-8088 (e-mail: andrea.benin@yale.edu).
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  • Louise Dembry MD,

  • Eugene D. Shapiro MD,

  • Eric S. Holmboe MD


  • Received from the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program (ALB, ESH), Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (LD, EDS), Department of Medicine (LD), Department of Pediatrics (EDS), the Children's Clinical Research Center (EDS), Yale Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program (ESH), Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.

Address correspondence to Dr. Benin: IE-61 SHM, P.O. Box 208088, New Haven, CT 06520-8088 (e-mail: andrea.benin@yale.edu).

Abstract

From February to April 2003, we performed an e-mail-based survey to assess responses of physicians at Yale University to being offered smallpox vaccine. Of 58 respondents, 3 (5%) had been or intended to be vaccinated. Reasons cited for declining vaccination included: belief that benefits did not outweigh risks (55%), belief that the vaccination program was unnecessary (18%), desire to wait and see what side effects occurred in vaccinees (11%), and worries about compensation or liability (7%). Most (94%) considered risks to themselves, family, or patients in their decision. Only 3% thought a smallpox attack in the next 5 years was likely or very likely. Physicians did not accept the smallpox vaccine because they did not believe the potential benefits were sufficient.

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