Background: Obstetrician-gynecologists can play a key role in providing appropriate vaccinations to women of childbearing age.
Purpose: This study investigated immunization knowledge and practices, and opinions concerning potential barriers to immunization, among obstetrician-gynecologists.
Methods: In 2007, surveys were sent to Collaborative Ambulatory Research Network members, a representative sample of practicing Fellows of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 394 responded (51.2%). Data analysis was completed in 2008.
Results: Most responding obstetrician-gynecologists disagreed that "routine screening for vaccine-preventable diseases falls outside of the routine practice of an ob/gyn." A majority (78.7%) stock and administer at least some vaccines. Among those who stock vaccines, 91.0% stock the human papillomavirus vaccine, and 66.8% stock the influenza vaccine. All other vaccines were stocked by <30% of practices that stock vaccines. A majority of physicians agreed that financial factors (e.g., inadequate reimbursement) were barriers to vaccine administration. Most were aware that the influenza (89.8%); hepatitis B (64.0%); and tetanus, diptheria, pertussis (58.6%) vaccines are safe to administer during pregnancy, and that the measles, mumps, rubella (97.5%); and varicella (92.9%) vaccines are not. Most (84.5%) were in concordance with recommendations that all pregnant women should receive the influenza vaccine. A majority believed their immunization training was less than adequate and believed their practice would benefit from continuing medical education courses.
Conclusions: Immunization is an important part of women's health care and has been, at least partially, incorporated into obstetrician-gynecologist practice. Financial burdens and knowledge regarding vaccine recommendations remain barriers to vaccine administration. Additional training and professional information may benefit obstetric-gynecologic practice.