Objectives: To explore attitudes to COVID-19 vaccination among perinatal women.
Methods: A nationwide online, cross-sectional survey was conducted in Qatar from 15th October 2020 to 15th November 2020 with voluntary participation open to all adult residents. Of the respondents, the population group for this study comprised the 341 pregnant and breastfeeding participants. The survey utilized a composite questionnaire incorporating a validated instrument to measure vaccine attitudes. The responses were recorded and analysed with statistical analysis being performed with SPSS software. Outcome measures included intentions towards vaccination and potential factors influencing vaccine hesitancy (contextual factors, vaccine specific concerns and group/individual influences).
Results: Perinatal women exhibited a vaccine hesitancy rate of 25% towards COVID-19 immunisation. The main concerns of the group were of infection risks and main factor determining vaccine hesitancy was of vaccine specific safety concerns. Previous vaccine “acceptors” showed vaccine hesitancy to COVID-19 immunisation. A third of the group cited non availability of the vaccine as a concern.
Conclusions: COVID-19 vaccine trials amongst pregnant and lactating women have lagged behind those for general populations and this has compounded concerns around safety in this special group. Perinatal women constitute a vulnerable group and play an important role in vaccination of wider family members. This study highlights the need for trials and data for COVID-19 vaccine in this group to be able to achieve appreciable numbers needed for herd immunity and ultimately control of the pandemic.