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Keywords:

  • attitudes;
  • smallpox vaccine;
  • survey;
  • vaccination

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.