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February 02, 2015

92% of Doctors Say Measles Outbreak is Directly Attributable to Parents Who Do Not Vaccinate Children

SERMO Finds Majority of Doctors Think Unvaccinated Children Should Not be Allowed to Attend Public Schools

New York, NY — Today SERMO, the leading US social network for doctors, released poll results around the recent measles outbreak. Since initial reports, measles has spread to over 80 people in 11 states with the likelihood that more patients will be diagnosed soon. Public health officials have requested quarantines for exposed individuals and school districts have released unvaccinated children to stop the spread of this serious virus. SERMO polls of over 3,000 doctors found that:

  • 92 percent of physicians think the current measles outbreak was directly attributable to parents not vaccinating their children (3,099 respondents)
  • 79 percent of SERMO physicians also felt that unvaccinated children, without a medical reason, should not be allowed to attend public schools (3,114 respondents)

To download the infographic with additional data, please visit: http://www.sermo.com/assets/pdf/SERMO_Measles_infographic.pdf

“I will not accept a child in my practice if they do not vaccinate,” said Dr. Linda Girgis, a family practitioner based in New Jersey. “Measles kills one or two out of every 1,000 persons who become ill with it in the US. No child will die from a vaccine-preventable disease on my watch.”

The sentiment against “anti-vaxxers” is strong among SERMO participants, many of whom remain anonymous on the platform. One internist wrote, “It is dangerous for every other patient in your practice. An anti-vax kid brought in by a parent for a rash sitting in the waiting room of a busy pediatric practice could spread measles to countless others in a matter of minutes.”

Some doctors believe seeing non-vaccinated patients is an opportunity to educate. An OBGYN wrote, “We have a large community of anti-vaxxers in my state and it would be difficult to refuse them outright. Instead I use persuasion to try to educate them and make my advocacy position very clear. I have had some limited success with this tactic.”

According to USA TODAY, the unvaccinated rate in some California schools is as high as 30 percent. Currently 19 states allow parents to skip vaccines for their children due to personal beliefs or philosophical reasons.

An ER doctor contributed to the conversation in strong words, “If you, intelligent, right-minded doctors, who know and can articulate the value of childhood immunization, exclude non-immunizers from your practice, what will happen to them? They will go to the quacks. The quacks will benefit. The patients will suffer. Everyone will suffer as these ideas continue to spread and herd immunity drops.”

About SERMO

SERMO is the United States' number 1 social network for fully verified, licensed physicians. SERMO is the place for doctors to talk about real world medicine. Founded in 2005, SERMO's mission is to provide physicians with a safe, private and trusted platform for free and open discussions about real world medicine. SERMO is a doctors’ ‘lounge’ where doctors candidly share their true feelings about their profession and lives, but it’s also a place where doctors learn from one another by asking each other real life questions, advice and second opinions about medicine. Over the course of a decade, doctors have built an important medical knowledge bank within SERMO by virtue of those questions and answers. With over 300,000 verified U.S. physicians from 96 specialties and subspecialties, representing 40 percent of the American physician community, SERMO harnesses the collective wisdom of doctors, enabling medical crowdsourcing, knowledge sharing and thus the advancement of medicine.

What are SERMO polls?

Every Monday, SERMO posts a poll with a fresh, topical question. Each poll can receive up to 3,000 votes. Polls are open to all members of the community.  We ask anything from when was your last physical to how do you feel about maintenance of certification courses.  Our polls are one of the most popular areas of our site, they spark plenty of healthy debate and enable doctors to have a voice on important issues. Members are not incentivized to participate in SERMO Polls. SERMO Polls are intended to be unscientific discussion starters to capture and report on the sentiment of thousands of physicians each week, on hot topics of the day.

SERMO Polls are written by the SERMO Community Team and by members, posted online within the closed SERMO community. Each member can vote a maximum of one time and polls are promoted both within the community and by email to community members.  Only members of the SERMO community of US physicians may vote.  Members can see the results of the polls as votes are cast and final results are often posted in the SERMO blog, which is a way for physicians’ aggregated opinions to be heard by the general public about the medical issues of the day.

SERMO members must go through a three-stage, highly secure and accurate verification process. While the data have not been weighted to reflect the demographic composition of US physicians, SERMO physicians index closely to the demographics of American physicians in general.  Because the sample is based on those who initially self-select for participation rather than being targeted from a probability sample, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated when projecting to the universe of US Physicians.   However, the margin of error when projecting to active SERMO members is ±1.7% as all of these members were invited by email to participate in the poll.  It is calculated at the standard 95% confidence level. Therefore we can be 95% confident that the sample result reflects the active SERMO member base within the margin of error. This calculator is based on a 50% result in a poll, which is where the margin of error is at its maximum.  All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, and measurement error.

To learn more, visit http://www.SERMO.com.

Media Contacts:
Osnat Benshoshan, VP, Marketing, SERMO

osnat.benshoshan@sermo.com; +1.805.479.8343



Victoria Khamsombath, SHIFT Communications

SERMO@shiftcomm.com; +1.617.779.185