Views and experiences of maternal healthcare providers regarding influenza vaccine during pregnancy globally: a systematic review and qualitative evidence synthesis

Fatemah Alhendyani, Kate Jolly, Laura Jones

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The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that pregnant women receive influenza vaccination; however, uptake of the vaccine remains low. Maternity health care professionals (MHCPs) play an important role in motivating pregnant women to receive the influenza vaccine. However, factors such as MHCPs’ views and knowledge about the vaccine, and time constraints due to workload may influence MHCPs’ practices and opinions about women receiving the influenza vaccine during pregnancy. To date, the qualitative evidence exploring MHCPs’ views and experiences around influenza vaccine uptake in pregnant women has not been synthesised.

To systematically review and thematically synthesise qualitative evidence that explores the views and experiences of MHCPs involved in the provision of the maternal influenza vaccine worldwide.

Five databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science) were searched, supplemented with searches of included paper reference lists and grey literature. Study selection was conducted by up to three researchers applying pre-specified inclusion/exclusion criteria. Quality assessment was undertaken, data were extracted, coded and synthesised to develop descriptive and analytical themes.

Eight studies involving 277 participants were included. Seventeen descriptive themes were interpreted, embedded within six analytical themes. MHCPs perceived that maternal influenza vaccination delivery can be facilitated by trusting relationships, good communication, knowledge about the vaccine leading to confidence in recommending vaccine, electronic vaccination prompts, and presence of national guidelines. However, workload, time constraints, MHCP’s perception of pregnant women’s concerns, and social/cultural/environmental influences could prevent the likelihood of delivery of influenza vaccine. Knowledgeable MHCPs who were regularly updated about vaccination based on scientific evidence were more confident when discussing and recommending the influenza vaccine to pregnant women. In addition, the presence of national policies and guidelines and electronic prompts for maternal influenza vaccination would enhance the delivery of the vaccine.

Our findings suggest that approaches to enhance the vaccination uptake rate in pregnant women include addressing MHCPs barriers to discussing influenza vaccination through education, sufficient time for discussions, and electronic prompts about vaccination, as well as evidence based local and national guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0263234
JournalPLOS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2022


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