Background: Maternal immunisation is an important strategy to reduce neonatal mortality and morbidity. New maternal vaccines such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Group B streptococcus (GBS) are in development and/or clinical trials. However, little is known about pregnant women's knowledge about these diseases.
Methods: Women attending antenatal clinics in Melbourne, Australia were invited to complete a questionnaire collecting demographic information, past vaccination history, understanding of risk of GBS and RSV disease in pregnancy and likelihood to accept these theoretical vaccines in the future.
Findings: 495 women (48% born outside of Australia, from 48 different countries) completed the questionnaire. A large number of women had never heard of GBS (63%) or RSV (83%). Women over 35 years, born in Australia and women who had more than one child were more likely to have heard of GBS or RSV (p < 0.001). Women who had received influenza or pertussis vaccine in pregnancy were more likely to accept a RSV or GBS vaccine (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: This study has shown that knowledge of GBS and RSV is poor. However, when provided with information about the two diseases, acceptance of a hypothetical vaccine for both diseases was high. This study highlights the enormous amount of work that needs to be done in educating pregnant women about the seriousness of these two diseases if a future vaccine is ever to be accepted and high coverage achieved among the target population.
Keywords: GBS; Immunisation; Pregnant; RSV; Vaccine.
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