Introduction: Post-partum vaccination of new mothers is currently recommended in Australia to reduce pertussis infection in infants. Internationally, vaccination recommendations now include pregnant women in some countries. Understanding the awareness of pertussis vaccination recommendations among pregnant women, and their willingness to have the vaccine while pregnant is important for informing vaccine program implementation.
Objective: To determine awareness and intentions toward current recommendations for post-partum pertussis vaccination among Australian pregnant women, and their willingness to accept pertussis vaccine during pregnancy, should it be recommended in Australia in the future.
Design: Quantitative self-administered survey, using a non-random stratified sampling plan based on representative proportions by age, parity and region of residence.
Participants and setting: Pregnant women receiving antenatal care through three large, demographically diverse referral hospitals in metropolitan, urban and rural New South Wales, Australia.
Results: The response rate was 815/939 (87%). Most women (80%) reported willingness to have the pertussis vaccine during pregnancy, should it be recommended. Thirty four per cent of women intended to receive a pertussis vaccine post-partum, 17% had received it previously, while 45% had never heard of pertussis vaccine, had not thought about it, or were undecided about having it. Compared with those who had not received a recommendation to have the vaccine post-partum, women who had received a recommendation were 7 times more likely (95% CI 4-14) to report intention to have the vaccine.
Conclusions: Health care provider recommendation is paramount to raising awareness of pertussis vaccination recommendations among pregnant women. Women's willingness to have the vaccine while pregnant is encouraging, and indicates the potential for high pertussis vaccine coverage among pregnant women, should it be recommended in Australia.
Keywords: Attitudes; Pertussis; Postnatal; Pregnancy; Vaccination.
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