Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy in pregnant women explored in new study

A new study published in BMC infectious diseases reveals younger women, those without multimorbidity (two or more chronic conditions), current and former smokers, and those living in deprived areas were less likely to receive the covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy.

The study by the Born in Wales team based in the National Centre for Population Health & Wellbeing Research analysed data from 25,111 pregnant women in Wales between April 13, 2021, and December 31, 2021.

This cohort study utilised routinely collected, individual-level, anonymised population-scale linked data within the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank.  The research focused on three significant risk factors, multimorbidity, smoking status, and pregnancy, associated with more severe outcomes following a COVID-19 infection. The study aimed to investigate how these factors, along with demographics such as age, ethnic group, and area of deprivation, influenced vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women in Wales.

Key Findings

  • Women with multimorbidity were 1.12 times more likely to receive the vaccine.
  • Vaccine uptake was significantly lower among current and former smokers.
  • Uptake was also lower among pregnant women in the most deprived areas.
  • Women aged 30 years or older were more likely to receive the vaccine during pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women with depression were slightly but significantly more likely to be vaccinated than those without depression.

Mohamed Mhereeg, Born in Wales Researcher, said: “Our study provides valuable insights into why some pregnant women may hesitate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine”. It is critical to develop tailored strategies to increase the acceptance rates of the COVID-19 vaccine and decrease hesitancy. A more targeted approach to vaccinations may need to be addressed to reach certain groups such as younger people, smokers and former smokers, healthy individuals, and those living in higher deprivation level areas. By doing so, we can better safeguard expectant mothers and their new-borns in the ongoing pandemic.”

Read the full publication online.

The National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research is funded by the Welsh Government through Health and Care Research Wales.