Publication date: Jul 11, 2023
Mounting evidence shows the risk of COVID-19 on perinatal outcomes, as well as the safety and efficacy of vaccination during pregnancy. However, little is known about vaccine uptake among pregnant women in Australia, including women who are culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), and about sources of information pregnant women use when making decisions about vaccines. We aimed to determine the proportion of pregnant women who had been vaccinated and to identify factors associated with vaccine uptake or decline during pregnancy. A cross-sectional, anonymous, online survey was conducted from October 2021 to January 2022 in two metropolitan hospitals in New South Wales, Australia. Of 914 pregnant women, 406 (44%) did not speak English at home. Overall, 101 (11%) received a vaccine prepregnancy and 699 (76%) during pregnancy. In the nonvaccinated cohort, 87 (76%) declined vaccination during pregnancy. The uptake was more than 87% among women during pregnancy who received information from government or health professional websites but 37% when received from personal blogs. The main reasons for vaccine uptake were (1) hearing that COVID-19 affects pregnant women, (2) being concerned about the COVID-19 outbreak, and (3) receiving vaccine recommendation from a general practitioner. In a multivariable logistic regression, three main factors associated with declining or feeling unsure about vaccination were (1) concerns about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, (2) lack of trust and being unsatisfied with the information received about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, and (3) doubting the importance of COVID-19 vaccine. Clinicians play a critical role in counseling women to alleviate vaccine fear, support vaccine acceptance, and direct women to use reliable information sources, such as government and professional healthcare organizations, for information about vaccines.