Summary statistics for the study subjects are presented in Table , including age group distribution and sex. The mean and standard deviation of the subjects’ ages were 52.2 ± 18.6 years. Of the group, 37% had a known history of vaccination for smallpox in their childhood, 0.7% of whom remembered they had side effects from the vaccination. Concerning the conditions amenable to the possible side effects of smallpox vaccination, 20% reported either past or present dermatologic disorders (including atopic dermatitis); 3% had immunologic disorders; 4% had experienced seizure attacks. While 16% of the people suffered from hypertension or cardiac disease, only 0.8% of the women were pregnant. The majority (77%) of the people responded that they did not know about the future threat of bioterrorism using smallpox. Only 17% considered that there was such a threat.
Asked about a prospective action if a smallpox vaccination were to become necessary under the threat or the incidence of bioterrorism, 64% were apt to receive prompt vaccination; 35% expressed that they would act in accordance with the orders from local their government or public health center; 28% desired immediate vaccinations (Table ). Only 2 out of 1,675 (0.12%) expressed that they would decline a vaccination under all circumstances. On the other hand, 17% of respondents answered that they would decide on such vaccination after consulting with a trusted (family) physician, and 12% would make up their minds for themselves after examining the information then available. Those two groups of people (39%) were regarded as independent thinkers.
Prospective actions for smallpox vaccination
An examination of the bivariate associations disclosed the following (Table ). The independent thinker group was comprised significantly more of younger people. On the other hand, this (independent thinker) group had a smaller proportion of people who considered the threat of smallpox bioterrorism to be real. Concerning the other factors, e.g., the history of past smallpox vaccination, there was no statistically significant difference observed between the two groups (the independent thinker group versus the other).
Possible factors associated with prospective/potential actions
The results of a multiple logistic regression analysis confirmed that the factors, listed above as being bivariately associated, were the independent predictors of independent thinkers (Table ). Belonging to the middle or older age groups (OR 0.712 and 0.630, respectively, compared to the younger age group) and a serious consideration of smallpox bioterrorism (OR 0.629) increased the likelihood that a person would be an independent thinker. Change of reference age group in the model disclosed that there was no statistically significant difference in the likelihood that a person would be an independent thinker between two conditions, belonging to the middle age group (30–64 years) or to the older age group (≥65 years). Furthermore, it was disclosed that suffering from hypertension and/or cardiac diseases decreased the likelihood of being an independent thinker (OR 1.474).
Predictive factors of independent thinkers
Inclusion and exclusion of two factors, i.e., pregnancy and past side effects from smallpox vaccination, also did not significantly change the results of logistic regression analyses.