Willingness of private physicians to be involved in smallpox preparedness and response activities.
BACKGROUND: The public health system continues its efforts to prepare for bioterrorist events, such as a smallpox outbreak, but may need to call on other health professionals to ensure sufficient capacity to implement preparedness plans. OBJECTIVE: The goal was to understand the willingness of primary care physicians to participate in possible smallpox pre- or post-event activities. METHODS: A 23-question mail survey was sent to a national random sample of 727 internists and 720 family physicians. After three mailings, a one-page version of the survey was sent to nonrespondents. RESULTS: Response rates were 26% for questions common to both surveys and 22% for questions on the longer survey only. Respondents to the survey expressed moderate support for participating in certain smallpox pre- and post-event activities. Under a pre-event scenario, many providers would be willing to vaccinate first responders in their practice, and roughly one-third would be willing to vaccinate patients in their practice or to work in a public health clinic as a vaccinator. Most physicians, however, would be unwilling to be vaccinated themselves. Under post-event conditions, most providers would be willing to vaccinate their own patients, and many would vaccinate other community members in their practice. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the low response rate, information from this study on the smallpox preparedness activities in which physicians are most willing to participate can help to inform efforts by public health officials and private physicians to collaborate on bioterrorism preparedness efforts.
Cowan, AE; Ching, PLYH; Clark, SJ; Kemper, AR
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)