Majority of Physicians Oppose Smallpox Vaccinations

SAN MATEO, Calif. -- As the smallpox vaccination debate heats up over such issues as who should be vaccinated, the safety of the vaccine and associated liability concerns, a study conducted by ePocrates, the leading handheld network for physicians, took the pulse of physicians on this issue.

According to the study, a majority of physicians are against widespread vaccinations for smallpox. When a total of 1,897 physicians participating in the ePocrates Quick Poll were asked, do you think that all Americans should be vaccinated for smallpox within the next two years, 68 percent said no. This sentiment was especially strong among pediatricians and infectious disease specialists who said no 77 percent and 72 percent of the time, respectively.

The ePocrates Quick Poll results are based on surveying a representative sample of 1,897 verified physicians across the United States including 727 primary care physicians, 203 psychiatrists, 192 pulmonologists, 184 cardiologists, 175 emergency medicine physicians, 173 pediatricians, 161 infectious disease specialists, and 82 neurologists. The interviews were conducted between January 14 and February 8, 2003.

"This study is exciting, not only because of the findings, but also because of the manner in which we collected the data," said John Voris, president and CEO of ePocrates. "Rather than using traditional data collection methods, we took advantage of our proprietary technology to collect responses directly from the targeted physicians' PDAs."

No significant difference of opinion was observed between physicians practicing in the metropolitan New York area and their peers throughout the country. "We found this particularly interesting considering that the events of 9/11 and the anthrax attacks were close to home for New York City area physicians," stated Matt Campion, vice president of pharmaceutical services.