BACKGROUND: Facilitators and barriers to influenza vaccination among pregnant women in the developing world are poorly understood, particularly in South Asia. We assessed intention to accept influenza vaccine among ethnically diverse low-income pregnant women in Pakistan.
METHODS: From May to August 2013, we conducted a cross-sectional survey of pregnant women who visited health centers in urban slums in Karachi city. We assessed intention to accept influenza vaccine against socio-demographic factors, vaccination history, vaccine recommendation sources, and other factors.
RESULTS: In an unvaccinated study population of 283 respondents, 87% were willing to accept the vaccine, if offered. All except two participants were aware of symptoms typically associated with influenza. Perceived vaccine safety, efficacy, and disease susceptibility were significantly associated with intention to accept influenza vaccine (p<0.05). Regardless of intention to accept influenza vaccine, 96% rated healthcare providers as highly reliable source of vaccine information. While a recommendation from a physician was critical for influenza vaccine acceptance, parents-in-law and husbands were often considered the primary decision-makers for pregnant women seeking healthcare including vaccination.
CONCLUSIONS: Maternal influenza vaccination initiatives in South Asia should strongly consider counseling of key familial decision-makers and inclusion of healthcare providers to help implement new vaccination programs.