Clinical Edge

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Influenza and Pertussis Vaccination in Pregnancy

Vaccine; ePub 2018 Nov 3; Wilcox, Bottrell, et al

Pertussis and influenza vaccination during pregnancy is beneficial, according to a mixed-methods study that examined the portrayal of maternal vaccination in online media and established the perceived target of vaccine protection as viewed by pregnant women and maternity healthcare professionals (HCPs). Online media articles published July-December 2012 or November 2015-April 2016 on maternal vaccination were identified and analyzed. Questionnaires for pregnant women and HCPs were distributed within 4 hospitals. Researchers found:

  • Of 203 articles identified, 60% related to pertussis vaccination, 33% to influenza, and 6% to both.
  • The majority of articles positively portrayed vaccination in pregnancy (97%).
  • The portrayal of pertussis vaccination as primarily benefitting the child may influence its higher uptake compared with influenza, which was portrayed as protecting the mother.
  • A minority of the pregnant women surveyed intended to decline influenza (22%) or pertussis (8%) vaccination.


Wilcox CR, Bottrell K, Paterson P, et al. Influenza and pertussis vaccination in pregnancy: Portrayal in online media articles and perceptions of pregnant women and healthcare professionals. [Published online ahead of print November 3, 2018]. Vaccine. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.10.092.


Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “People only see what they are prepared to see.” This study would reaffirm that. Mothers who viewed a vaccine as more beneficial to their child were more likely to accept that vaccine than a vaccine that they perceived as being only beneficial to themselves. We realize that this is a false premise because a mother who is very sick with influenza could have a profound impact on the health of her unborn infant. —John Russell, MD