Women are receiving vaccine information

By Julie Griffiths on 27 November 2017 Flu Vaccination Emma's Diary

A new survey of recent mothers and pregnant women reveals that more than four out of five (84%) are getting vaccine information on flu and whooping cough from their midwife. 

However, the survey also shows a clear need from women for more support and advice with almost half (45%) of women responding to the survey saying they would like more in-depth discussion on this with health professionals. 

A similar number (44%) said they would like more educational materials to take home to read.

The survey, carried out by the RCM and Emma’s Diary, aimed to give midwives and other healthcare professionals more information about women’s decisions on vaccinations. 

It is hoped that the results will enable them to better support informed choices by women about vaccination.

Most women (79%) said midwives are their main source of information about vaccinations, with 87% saying that they found the information from their midwife useful or very useful in helping them make a choice about whether or not to have the flu or whooping cough vaccinations.

Over half of the women surveyed (55%) had both vaccinations. Over a fifth (21%) did not have either vaccination. 

Nearly a quarter did not go ahead with either vaccination because they were concerned about how it would affect their baby’s health. 

A fifth (20%) said they did not have either vaccination because of fears about a risk to their own health.

RCM head of quality and standards Mandy Forrester said: ‘The RCM recommends that women have both of these vaccinations to protect themselves and their babies from these infections, which can be dangerous in pregnancy and after birth.

‘The survey showed very clearly that many women do have reservations about having the vaccinations and they also said how important midwives were as a source of information for them. It is vital that a pregnant woman has the information she needs to help her decide whether or not she wants to have vaccinations to protect herself and her baby against whooping cough and flu, and midwives have a critical role to play.

‘The findings show how important it is that midwives have the time to discuss vaccinations with women and are equipped with resources and information to support them to make an informed choice.
‘We also encourage and recommend that midwives and other NHS staff have the flu vaccine. This helps to protect themselves, and also women and families using maternity services, their colleagues and their own families.’
Managing director at Emma’s Diary, Nick Watts, said: ‘Working with the RCM on the pregnancy vaccination research has been hugely beneficial and insightful. We’ve been able to tap into our engaged audience to better understand women’s perceptions of having vaccinations during pregnancy. We are using these findings to help shape new resources across our multi-channel offering that will support pregnant women in making more informed choices on having vaccinations while pregnant now and into the future.’
The survey was conducted in June 2017 and 2648 completed survey responses were received from across the UK. 
Further information on vaccinations while pregnant is available here.
A training resource from Public Health England for those immunising pregnant women can be read here.