Attitudes towards antenatal vaccination, Group B streptococcus and participation in clinical trials: Insights from focus groups and interviews of parents and healthcare professionals

Vaccine. 2016 Jul 25;34(34):4056-61. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.06.024. Epub 2016 Jun 16.


Introduction: Antenatal vaccination has become a part of routine care during pregnancy in the UK and worldwide, leading to improvements in health for both pregnant women and their infants. However, uptake remains sub-optimal. Other antenatal vaccines targeting major neonatal pathogens, such as Group B streptococcus (GBS), the commonest cause of sepsis and meningitis in the neonatal period, are undergoing clinical trials but more information is needed on how to improve acceptance of such vaccines.

Methods: Qualitative study using focus groups and interviews; involving 14 pregnant women, 8 mothers with experience of GBS, and 28 maternity healthcare professionals. Questions were asked regarding antenatal vaccines, knowledge of GBS, attitudes to a potential future GBS vaccine and participation in antenatal vaccine trials.

Results: All participants were very cautious about vaccination during pregnancy, with harm to the baby being a major concern. Despite this, the pregnant women and parents with experience of GBS were open to the idea of an antenatal GBS vaccine and participating in research, while the maternity professionals were less positive. Major barriers identified included lack of knowledge about GBS and the reluctance of maternity professionals to be involved.

Interpretation: In order for a future GBS vaccine to be acceptable to both pregnant women and the healthcare professionals advising them, a major awareness campaign would be required with significant focus on convincing and training maternity professionals.

Keywords: Antenatal vaccine; Attitudes; Clinical trials; Group B streptococcus; Healthcare professionals; Pregnancy; Pregnant women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Participation*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Pregnant Women / psychology
  • Qualitative Research
  • Streptococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Streptococcal Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Streptococcus agalactiae
  • Vaccination / psychology*
  • Young Adult


  • Streptococcal Vaccines