Uptake of influenza vaccine by pregnant women: a cross-sectional survey

Kerrie E Wiley, Peter D Massey, Spring C Cooper, Nicholas J Wood, Jane Ho, Helen E Quinn and Julie Leask
Med J Aust 2013; 198 (7): 373-375. || doi: 10.5694/mja12.11849


Objectives: To determine influenza vaccination coverage among pregnant women in New South Wales, and factors associated with vaccine uptake during pregnancy.

Design, setting and participants: Quantitative self-administered survey of pregnant women, using a non-random, stratified sample from antenatal clinics at three demographically diverse hospitals in NSW during the influenza season of 2011.

Main outcome measures: Self-reported influenza vaccine uptake while pregnant; and attitudes, barriers and facilitators to vaccine acceptance during pregnancy.

Results: Of 939 women approached, 815 participated (87%). Influenza vaccine uptake in pregnant women was 27%. Women who had received a recommendation to have the vaccine were 20.0 times (95% CI, 10.9–36.9) more likely to have been vaccinated. Forty-two per cent recalled receiving a recommendation to be vaccinated. Other factors associated with vaccination were study site, perceived infection severity, overall feelings toward vaccination during pregnancy, vaccine accessibility, and willingness to take up the vaccine if recommended. Concern about the baby’s safety was negatively associated with vaccination (odds ratio, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.2–0.9), but 68% (95% CI, 63%–71%) of women who expressed concern agreed they would have the vaccine if their health care professional recommended it.

Conclusion: Recommendation from a health care provider is strongly associated with influenza vaccine uptake among pregnant women and can overcome their concerns about safety, but less than half the women surveyed reported receiving such a recommendation. Educational material targeting pregnant women and professional education and support for antenatal health care providers are needed to increase awareness and recommendation.

  • Kerrie E Wiley1,2
  • Peter D Massey3
  • Spring C Cooper4
  • Nicholas J Wood2
  • Jane Ho1
  • Helen E Quinn1
  • Julie Leask5

  • 1 National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Population Health, Hunter New England Population Health, Tamworth, NSW.
  • 4 Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 5 School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.


We acknowledge A Raeburn and P Cashman of Hunter New England Area Population Health; C King of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance; L Taylor and J Bentley of the Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health; and the staff of Westmead Hospital Antenatal Clinic, Royal Prince Alfred Women and Babies, and Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital Antenatal Clinic. This study was funded by the Financial Markets Foundation for Children (grant 2010-099).

Competing interests:

Julie Leask participated in an Australian Research Council Linkage grant on paediatric influenza vaccination that received partial funding from Sanofi Pasteur.

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