University of Limerick
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Maternal awareness, acceptability and willingness towards respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccination during pregnancy in Ireland

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-03, 08:51 authored by Siobhan McCormack, Claire Thompson, Miriam Nolan, Mendinaro Imcha, Anne Dee, Jean Saunders, Roy K. Philip

Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the world's leading cause of viral acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) in infants. WHO has identified maternal RSV vaccination a priority and candidate vaccines are in development; however, vaccine hesitancy remains an impediment to successful implementation of maternal immunization. This study, the largest antenatal survey conducted to‐date, aimed to examine maternal RSV awareness, likely acceptance of RSV vaccination in pregnancy, and attitudes to maternal vaccination.

Methods: Pregnant women of all gestations attending antenatal clinic of a university maternity hospital in Ireland were invited to participate. An information leaflet provided, consent obtained, and survey administered examining RSV awareness, willingness to avail of antenatal RSV vaccination, factors influencing acceptability and preferred sources of assistance. Research Ethics Committee (REC) approval obtained, and general data protection regulation (GDPR) guidelines followed.

Results: 528 women completed the survey. A large proportion (75.6%) had never heard of RSV, yet 48.5% would still avail of a vaccine, 45.8% were undecided and only 5.3% would not. The main factor making vaccination acceptable to women (76.4%) was that it protects their infant from illness (p < .001, CV 0.336 for association with acceptance) and general practitioner (GP) was the preferred guidance source in decision‐making (57.7%).

Conclusions: Despite low levels of maternal awareness of RSV, pregnant women in Ireland are open to availing of antenatal vaccination. Maternal immunization strategies need to focus on infant's protection from RSV‐associated ALRI along with vaccine safety, and build on an interdisciplinary collaboration of maternal, neonatal, primary care and public health services.



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