Influenza and pertussis vaccine coverage in pregnancy in Australia, 2016–2021

Jocelynne E McRae, Lisa McHugh, Catherine King, Frank H Beard, Christopher C Blyth, Margie H Danchin, Michelle L Giles, Hassen Mohammed, Nicholas Wood and Kristine Macartney
Med J Aust 2023; 218 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51989
Published online: 19 June 2023


  • Vaccination in pregnancy is the best strategy to reduce complications from influenza or pertussis infection in infants who are too young to be protected directly from vaccination. Pregnant women are also at risk of influenza complications preventable through antenatal vaccination. Both vaccines are funded under the National Immunisation Program for pregnant women in Australia, but coverage is not routinely reported nationally.
  • We reviewed all reported Australian maternal influenza and pertussis vaccine coverage data for the period 2016–2021, to identify gaps and information needs.
  • Maternal influenza vaccine coverage was suboptimal at < 58% for 2016–2018, with higher coverage of 62–75% reported in two states (Victoria and Western Australia) for 2019–2021. Maternal pertussis vaccine coverage from 2016 was generally higher than for influenza at > 70%, with the highest jurisdictional coverage of 89% reported in Western Australia in 2020.
  • Vaccination rates were often suboptimal among First Nations pregnant women and up to 20% lower than among non‐First Nations Australian women; while data were limited, coverage was low among culturally and linguistically diverse women and among women of lower socio‐economic status.
  • Jurisdictional perinatal data collections were the best source of information on antenatal vaccine coverage but were only available for a minority of the population; a nationally consistent systematic approach is lacking.
  • Timely and comprehensive data are needed to provide feedback to improve maternal vaccination coverage, particularly among groups with higher risk and/or low uptake, and as new vaccines are recommended, including COVID‐19 vaccination.

  • 1 National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 3 University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD
  • 4 University of Western Australia, Perth, WA
  • 5 Perth Children's Hospital, Perth, WA
  • 6 Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC
  • 7 Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, VIC
  • 8 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 9 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 10 Women's and Children's Health Network, Adelaide, SA
  • 11 Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA
  • 12 The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, NSW

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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