Women’s Knowledge, Attitudes, and Access to Vaccines in Pregnancy: A South Auckland Study
Background: In Aotearoa New Zealand pertussis and influenza vaccinations are available free-of charge during pregnancy, although uptake varies between District Health Board areas.
Aims: This study was designed to assess the knowledge of, attitudes towards, and infrastructural access to, these vaccines for birthing people in an area of Auckland (Counties Manukau) where uptake has been low.
Methods: A mixed methods research design was used involving interviews (n = 7), two focus groups (n = 9) and a paper-based survey (n = 121). Interviews and focus groups were semi-structured and analysed using thematic analysis. The survey comprised of a 20-item Likert scale.
Findings: Participants displayed support for maternal vaccinations. Concerns remain regarding potential adverse effects. Awareness of the existence of vaccines in pregnancy is not universal, and 36% of survey participants were unaware that the vaccines are free-of-charge. Appreciation was expressed for trusted healthcare relationships within which people feel supported to make decisions about maternal vaccination, and for immunisation services that are easily accessible.
Conclusion: The research contributes to growing evidence on the significance of health professionals providing information about immunisation in pregnancy. Also highlighted is the importance of: culturally safe knowledge sharing; information being tailored to meet individual needs; and continuity of health and maternity care to facilitate that.