BACKGROUND: Maternal immunization against pertussis is a potential strategy to protect young infants from severe disease. We assessed factors associated with intention to accept pertussis vaccination among pregnant women in Karachi, Pakistan.
METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey between May and August 2013 in pregnant women who visited healthcare centers in urban slums of Karachi city. Women completed a survey examining socio-demographic factors, vaccination history, knowledge on pertussis disease, perception of vaccine recommendation sources, and potential influences on vaccine decision-making.
RESULTS: Of the 283 participants, 259 (92%) provided their intention to either accept or decline pertussis vaccination. Eighty-three percent women were willing to accept the pertussis vaccine if offered during pregnancy. About half (53%) of the participants had ever heard of pertussis disease. Perceptions of pertussis vaccine efficacy, safety, and disease susceptibility were strongly associated with intention to accept pertussis vaccine (p<0.01). Healthcare providers, Ministry of Health, and mass media were considered as highly reliable sources of vaccine recommendation and associated with intention to accept antenatal pertussis vaccination (p<0.001). Healthcare provider recommendation was a common reason cited by respondents for pregnant women to accept antenatal pertussis vaccination (p=0.0005). However, opinion of primary decision-makers in the family (husbands and in-laws) was a crucial reason cited by respondents for pregnant women to reject pertussis vaccination in pregnancy (p=0.003).
CONCLUSION: Antenatal pertussis vaccination initiatives in South Asia should strongly consider inclusion of family members, healthcare providers, national health ministries, and mass media to help implement new vaccination programs.