A(H1N1) vaccination during pregnancy: the Netherlands

Volume 30, Issue 18, Pages 2805-2914 (16 April 2012)

Regular Papers
Acceptance of vaccination during pregnancy: Experience with 2009 influenza A (H1N1) in the Netherlands
Original Research Article
Pages 2892-2899
Alies van Lier, Anneke Steens, José A. Ferreira, Nicoline A.T. van der Maas, Hester E. de Melker

In 2009, the Dutch government advised pregnant women to get vaccinated against influenza A (H1N1). A study was set up to gain insight into vaccination coverage and reasons why pregnant women seek vaccination or not.

We invited 14,529 pregnant women to complete an internet survey on vaccination during pregnancy in general and against 2009 influenza A (H1N1). Differences in background characteristics between unvaccinated and vaccinated women were investigated. Prediction analyses were carried out to determine which survey statement had the greatest impact on vaccination status or intention to get vaccinated during pregnancy.

Of the 2993 included respondents, 63% reported to be vaccinated against 2009 influenza A (H1N1). Vaccination coverage was higher among older birth cohorts, women who had been pregnant before, women with underlying medical conditions, and women who reported no defined ‘life philosophy’. Protection of the child (after birth), the government’s advice and possible harmful effects of the vaccine for the unborn child had the greatest predictive value for vaccination status. With regards vaccination during future pregnancies, 39% had a positive intention to obtain vaccination and 45% were neutral. The government’s advice was the strongest predictor for intention. Furthermore, women expressed concern over lack of sufficient knowledge about vaccine safety.

A considerable number of pregnant women in the Netherlands reported to be vaccinated against 2009 influenza A (H1N1). The challenge for the government in the future will be to provide pregnant women and health care professionals with sufficient and clear information about disease severity and the benefits and safety of vaccination.