Trends in seasonal influenza vaccine uptake during pregnancy in Western Australia: Implications for midwives
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© 2016 Australian College of Midwives. Background: Antenatal influenza vaccination is an important public health intervention for preventing serious illness in mothers and newborns, yet uptake remains low. Aim: To evaluate trends in seasonal influenza vaccine coverage and identify determinants for vaccination among pregnant women in Western Australia. Methods: We conducted an annual telephone survey in a random sample of post-partum women who delivered a baby in Western Australia between 2012 and 2014. Women were asked whether influenza vaccination was recommended and/or received during their most recent pregnancy; women were also asked why or why they were not immunised. Findings: Between 2012 and 2014, influenza vaccine coverage increased from 22.9% to 41.4%. Women who reported receiving the majority of their antenatal care from a private obstetrician were significantly more likely to have influenza vaccination recommended to them than those receiving the majority of their care from a public antenatal hospital or general practitioner (p <. 0.001). In 2014, the most common reason women reported for accepting influenza vaccination was to protect the baby (92.8%) and the most common reason for being unimmunised was lack of a healthcare provider recommendation (48.5%). Discussion: Antenatal influenza vaccination uptake is increasing, but coverage remains below 50%. A recommendation from the principal care provider is an important predictor of maternal influenza vaccination. Conclusion: Antenatal care providers, including midwives, have a key role in providing appropriate information and evidence-based recommendations to pregnant women to ensure they are making informed decisions. Consistent recommendations from antenatal care providers are critical to improving influenza vaccine coverage in pregnant women.
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