Prevalence of and factors associated with receipt of provider recommendation for influenza vaccination and uptake of influenza vaccination during pregnancy: cross-sectional study

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2021 Oct 27;21(1):723. doi: 10.1186/s12884-021-04182-w.


Background: Seasonal influenza vaccination has been recommended for pregnant women in Germany since 2010. The aim of this study was to examine prevalence and determinants of receipt of provider recommendation for influenza vaccination as well as influenza vaccination uptake during pregnancy.

Methods: We analysed data from the "KUNO Kids Health Study", a prospective birth cohort. During the study period (5th July 2015 to 27th June 2018) data were collected from participating mothers by interview and questionnaire. According to Andersen's behavioural model of health services use potential influencing factors describing the circumstances and characteristics of the mothers and their pregnancies which are potentially affecting whether women receive a recommendation for a vaccination or whether they utilize influenza vaccination were classified into three domains: 'predisposing characteristics', 'enabling resources' and 'need'. Using multivariable logistic regression models odds ratios (OR) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated.

Results: As a combined result across three flu seasons, 368 of 1814 (20.3%) women received an influenza vaccination recommendation during pregnancy. Having had a high-risk pregnancy increased the odds of receiving a vaccination recommendation (OR = 1.3; 95% CI = 1.0-1.6; p = 0.045). In contrast, pregnancy onset in summer (OR = 0.7; 95% CI = 0.5-1.0; p = 0.027), autumn (OR = 0.4; 95% CI = 0.3-0.5; p < =0.001) or winter (OR = 0.5; 95% CI = 0.3-0.6; p < =0.001) (compared to spring) as well as mother's birthplace outside Germany (OR = 0.6; 95% CI = 0.4-0.9; p = 0.023) reduced the chance of getting a vaccination recommendation. Two hundred forty-two of one thousand eight hundred sixty-five (13%) women were vaccinated against influenza during pregnancy. Having received a vaccination recommendation was strongly associated with vaccination uptake (OR = 37.8; 95% CI = 25.5-55.9; p < =0.001). Higher health literacy status was also associated with a higher chance of vaccination uptake (OR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.2-2.6; p = 0.008), whereas pregnancy onset in autumn (compared to spring) reduced the chance (OR = 0.5; 95% CI = 0.3-0.8; p = 0.008).

Conclusions: At 13% the uptake rate of influenza vaccination is low. Having received a recommendation to vaccinate was strongly associated with uptake but only one fifth of all mothers report such a recommendation. Raising awareness in physicians regarding vaccinating during pregnancy seems to be of essential importance to increase vaccine uptake and to prevent influenza-related complications in pregnant women.

Keywords: Influenza; Pregnancy; Recommendation; Uptake; Vaccine.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Seasons
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*


  • Influenza Vaccines