Pregnant and Recently Pregnant Women’s Perceptions about Influenza A Pandemic (H1N1) 2009: Implications for Public Health and Provider Communication
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The objective of this study was to explore pregnant and recently pregnant women’s perceptions of influenza vaccine and antivirals during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. We conducted 18 focus groups with pregnant and recently pregnant women in three US cities in September 2009. Participants were segmented into groups by insurance status (no or public insurance vs. private insurance), vaccine attitudes (higher vs. lower likelihood of acceptance of any vaccines, not only influenza vaccines), and parity (first child vs. other children in the home) based on information they provided on the screening questionnaire at the time of recruitment. We found that women are not well informed about influenza vaccinations and antiviral medicine and have significant concerns about taking them during pregnancy. An interest in their infant’s well-being, however, can be strong motivation to adopt preventive recommendations, including vaccination. A woman’s health care provider is a highly trusted source of information about the 2009 H1N1. Pregnant women have unique communication needs for influenza. Messages directing pregnant women to adopt public health recommendations, particularly for vaccination or prophylactic medication should include a detailed description of the benefits or lack of risk to the fetus and the safety of breastfeeding. Additionally, messages should recognize that pregnant women are taught to be selective about taking medication and provide a clear rationale for why the medicine or vaccine is necessary.
KeywordsH1N1 virus Influenza vaccine Pregnant women Social marketing
The authors wish to thank Kitty MacFarlane of the CDC and Colleen Carr and Laurie Brockman of Danya International for their contributions to the development and review of this manuscript. We also wish to thank Jackie Amoozegar, Joey Horne, and Genny Cromwell of RTI International for their analytic support. The research was funded under a contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention No. 0210637 Task Order 9.
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