Increasing uptake of influenza vaccine by pregnant women post H1N1 pandemic: A longitudinal study in Melbourne, Australia, 2010 to 2014

Elizabeth Anne McCarthy*, Wendy Elizabeth Pollock, Lauren Tapper, Maree Sommerville, Susan McDonald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: A Melbourne (Australia) university affiliated, tertiary obstetric hospital provides lay and professional education about influenza vaccine in pregnancy annually each March, early in the local influenza season. Responding to a 2011 survey of new mothers' opinions, the hospital made influenza vaccine freely available in antenatal clinics from 2012. We wished to determine influenza vaccination uptake during pregnancy with these strategies 5 years after 2009 H1N1. Methods: Face to face interviews based on US Center for Disease Control and Prevention Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System with new mothers in postnatal wards each July, 2010 to 2014. We calculated recalled influenza vaccine uptake each year and assessed trends with chi square tests, and logistic regression. Results: We recorded 1086 interviews. Influenza vaccination during pregnancy increased by 6% per year (95% confidence interval 4 to 8%): from 29.6% in 2010 to 51.3% in 2014 (p < 0.001). Lack of discussion from maternity caregivers was a persistent reason for non-vaccination, recalled by 1 in 2 non-vaccinated women. Survey respondents preferred face to face consultations with doctors and midwives, internet and text messaging as information sources about influenza vaccination. Survey responses indicate messages about vaccine safety in pregnancy and infant benefits are increasingly being heeded. However, there was progressively lower awareness of maternal benefits of influenza vaccination, especially for women with risk factors for severe disease. Conclusions: We observed improving influenza vaccination during pregnancy. There is potential to integrate technology such as text message or internet with antenatal consultations to increase vaccination coverage further.

Original languageEnglish
Article number53
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Early online date5 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


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