Objectives: To determine influenza vaccination coverage among pregnant women in New South Wales, and factors associated with vaccine uptake during pregnancy.
Design, setting and participants: Quantitative self-administered survey of pregnant women, using a non-random, stratified sample from antenatal clinics at three demographically diverse hospitals in NSW during the influenza season of 2011.
Main outcome measures: Self-reported influenza vaccine uptake while pregnant; and attitudes, barriers and facilitators to vaccine acceptance during pregnancy.
Results: Of 939 women approached, 815 participated (87%). Influenza vaccine uptake in pregnant women was 27%. Women who had received a recommendation to have the vaccine were 20.0 times (95% CI, 10.9-36.9) more likely to have been vaccinated. Forty-two per cent recalled receiving a recommendation to be vaccinated. Other factors associated with vaccination were study site, perceived infection severity, overall feelings toward vaccination during pregnancy, vaccine accessibility, and willingness to take up the vaccine if recommended. Concern about the baby's safety was negatively associated with vaccination (odds ratio, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.2-0.9), but 68% (95% CI, 63%-71%) of women who expressed concern agreed they would have the vaccine if their health care professional recommended it.
Conclusion: Recommendation from a health care provider is strongly associated with influenza vaccine uptake among pregnant women and can overcome their concerns about safety, but less than half the women surveyed reported receiving such a recommendation. Educational material targeting pregnant women and professional education and support for antenatal health care providers are needed to increase awareness and recommendation.