Acceptability of maternal immunization against influenza: The critical role of obstetricians
Pregnant women and infants are at increased risk of vaccine-preventable complications due to influenza. In Switzerland, immunization was first recommended to all pregnant women in 2009. We assessed the acceptability of this recommendation and its determinants two seasons later.
Women having delivered in the University Hospitals of Geneva during March 2011 were asked to fill in a questionnaire assessing their knowledge, beliefs and acceptability of influenza vaccination during pregnancy.
The questionnaire was completed by 261/323 (80%) women. Out of 261, 213 (82%) were aware of increased risks of influenza during pregnancy, and 119/261 (46%) knew that immunization was recommended during pregnancy. Only 110/261 (42%) recalled an immunization advise during their pregnancy and only 47/261 (18%) had been immunized. A direct recommendation was the main predictor of immunization, associated with a 107-fold increased likelihood of vaccination. Factors identified by multivariate analyses as independently associated with the likelihood of immunization were to have been recommended immunization by a private (OR 9.1) or hospital (OR 4.7) obstetrician rather than a midwife, to have no fear that immunization could cause preterm delivery (OR 0.3) and to have been immunized in previous years (OR 10.7).
Two years after the recommendation of influenza immunization during pregnancy, most post-partum women recalled being neither recommended nor adequately informed about influenza vaccine and its safety. This identifies major gaps in awareness and/or communication in healthcare workers and suggests that improving immunization safety/efficacy awareness among obstetricians as the most likely method to improve flu immunization during pregnancy.
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- "In addition, pre-existent antibodies against pre or post-F in women may affect responses . Other poorly characterized factors may influence antibody decay in infants in developing countries ; and the extent and quality of prenatal care, and acceptance of maternal immunization in different populations may influence vaccination rates  . Passive prophylaxis may allow direct inoculation of babies at birth before and during the RSV season, a period that is easier to define in regions with well-defined winters, but potentially challenging to delineate in advance in tropical climates . "
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ABSTRACT: Recognition of the acute and chronic burden of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) sparked a wave of initiatives to develop preventive and therapeutic products against the pathogen in recent years. RSV is a leading cause of hospitalization in infants in industrialized and developing countries, has been causally linked to recurrent wheezing during childhood, associated with pediatric asthma, and is an important cause of mortality in the first months of life in the developing world. Significant changes in the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and severe consequences of LRTI may emerge in the next decade with the advent of novel preventive strategies against RSV. This manuscript outlines some of these changes and discusses potential scenarios based on the current literature and experiences with other pathogens.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Available from: Glenda Lee Lawrence
- "While many factors may influence influenza vaccine uptake during pregnancy, it has been identified that pregnant women who receive a recommendation for the vaccine from a health care provider are more likely to receive the vaccine [22,24-27]. However, antenatal care providers do not routinely recommend influenza vaccination to their pregnant patients: three recent surveys of pregnant and post-partum women in Australia found that only 21–41% of women could recall receiving such a recommendation [21-23]. "
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Pregnant women have an increased risk of influenza complications. Influenza vaccination during pregnancy is safe and effective, however coverage in Australia is less than 40%. Pregnant women who receive a recommendation for influenza vaccination from a health care provider are more likely to receive it, however the perspectives of Australian general practitioners has not previously been reported. The aim of the study was to investigate the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices of general practitioners practicing in South-Western Sydney, Australia towards influenza vaccination during pregnancy.
A qualitative descriptive study was conducted, with semi-structured interviews completed with seventeen general practitioners in October 2012. A thematic analysis was undertaken by four researchers, and transcripts were analysed using N-Vivo software according to agreed codes.
One-third of the general practitioners interviewed did not consider influenza during pregnancy to be a serious risk for the mother or the baby. The majority of the general practitioners were aware of the government recommendations for influenza vaccination during pregnancy, but few general practitioners were confident of their knowledge about the vaccine and most felt they needed more information. More than half the general practitioners had significant concerns about the safety of influenza vaccination during pregnancy. Their practices in the provision of the vaccine were related to their perception of risk of influenza during pregnancy and their confidence about the safety of the vaccine. While two-thirds reported that they are recommending influenza vaccination to their pregnant patients, many were adopting principles of patient-informed choice in their approach and encouraged women to decide for themselves whether they would receive the vaccine.
General practitioners have varied knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about influenza vaccination during pregnancy, which influence their practices. Addressing these could have a significant impact on improving vaccine uptake during pregnancy.
Available from: Claire-Anne Siegrist
- "Of the 29 interviewees, five had been vaccinated against flu. This proportion is close to that observed in all the women who participated in the study (18%)  "
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The recommendation for seasonal flu immunization from the second trimester of pregnancy, adopted in summer 2010 in Switzerland, is situated within a social context characterized by reluctance toward some vaccinations, a relatively low vaccination coverage against flu in the general population, and still heated debates fuelled by vaccination campaigns organized around the A(H1N1)pdm09 flu pandemic in winter 2009 to 2010. This study examines Swiss pregnant women's representations of the risks associated with seasonal flu and its vaccination.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 29 women, while in the maternity unit in March 2011, 3 to 5 days after giving birth. The interviews addressed the risks associated with flu, modes of protection, motivations for, and obstacles to vaccination.
The interviewees did not show major preoccupations regarding seasonal flu and they tended to distance themselves from the at-risk status. They did not directly challenge seasonal flu immunization; however, they were reluctant to do it. Their attitudes were supported by their personal experience and the experience of their social networks. Healthcare professionals, particularly medical doctors, gave very little direction, or even did not raise the issue with them.
Between the rather moderate positions of those who are against vaccination and those who support it, an intermediate grey zone, characterized by hesitation, was observed. Furthermore, the indecision of pregnant women is reinforced by doubts among the persons they are close to and also among the professionals they met during their pregnancy.
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