Patients Are Getting the Message on the Measles Vaccine, Say US Physicians in New Data from InCrowd

Despite misinformation, 61% of responding physicians say patients are getting proactive about vaccination and its urgency; 31% report the dialogue has sparked additional patient concerns

WATERTOWN, MA May 9, 2019—In a sign that public education campaigns on measles may be working, US physicians report an increase in patients’ contacting them to confirm vaccination status, among other changes in patient response to measles, both good and bad, as the number of reported measles cases expand. The data is from InCrowd, pioneer of the real-time market intelligence platform for the life sciences, and were sourced April 18-19, 2019.

Forty percent of the 455 US physicians surveyed—including 242 primary care physicians and 213 pediatricians—have either personally treated (4%) or know of colleagues in their facility (13%) or community (23%) who have treated patients with measles in 2019. Respondents from 24 states in the US report cases of measles being treated in 2019. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently reports 23 states with confirmed cases.

Of these 180 physicians who have treated or have colleagues or community facilities that have treated measles cases,  61% report that patients are either contacting them to confirm their vaccination status, or showing stronger urgency to get vaccinated:

  • 57% say they’re getting more calls with questions about measles, and 49% report parents/caregivers requesting more information about measles vaccines.
  • 57% say they hear more anxiety on measles vaccination from parents with newborns.
  • 31% of these physicians note other changes in patients related to the measles outbreak—ranging from general confusion and fear (16%), increased use and early vaccinations for measles (11%), and increased frustration with both the outbreak and anti-vaxxers (9%).
  • 11% percent of these mention, unaided, that caregivers are seeking to vaccinate children against measles earlier than usual.

Public dialogue on the measles outbreak is also rising, although not always with accuracy according to physicians who have treated or have colleagues or community facilities that have treated measles:

  • 66% of US physician respondents said they have observed an increase in debates on social media
  • At the same time, 41% of physicians noted an increased spread of misinformation.
  • 31% report more patient/caregiver confusion as the measles outbreak continues.

The measles outbreak remains a serious concern of these respondents, and may be followed by future disease outbreaks and governmental reaction, they said:

  • 44%  percent of these physicians predict a high likelihood that deaths caused by measles will increase
  • Other potential disease outbreaks predicted by these respondents include whooping cough (43%), chicken pox (36%), and mumps (28%), among several other diseases
  • 36% also strongly anticipate that more communities will instill requirements for vaccinations

“While it’s heartening that patient education campaigns about measles appear to be working, the data caution that we have a long way to go before declaring victory,” said Diane Hayes Ph.D, president and co-founder of InCrowd and an epidemiologist by background. “WIth 44% of respondents predicting a high likelihood that deaths caused by measles will increase, the data show the imperative for physicians and patients to keep up the dialogue.”

The 5-minute MicroSurvey on treating physicians’ perspectives regarding the spread of measles and patient and caregiver sentiments included data sourced from 455 US physicians, distributed from across the US and with a broad range of years in practice. The 180 respondents who reported experience treating measles or knowledge of facility or community physicians treating measles—included 91 primary care physicians and 89 pediatricians.