Characterizing initial COVID-19 vaccine attitudes among pregnancy-capable healthcare workers

Marta J. Perez, Rachel Paul, Nandini Raghuraman, Ebony B. Carter, Anthony O. Odibo, Jeannie C. Kelly, Megan E. Foeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers were prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination roll-out because of the high occupational risk. Vaccine trials excluded individuals who were trying to conceive and those who are pregnant and lactating, necessitating vaccine decision-making in the absence of data specific to this population. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine the initial attitudes about COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy-capable healthcare workers by reproductive status and occupational exposure. STUDY DESIGN: We performed a structured survey distributed via social media of US-based healthcare workers involved in patient care since March 2020 who were pregnancy-capable (biologic female sex without history of sterilization or hysterectomy) from January 8, 2021 to January 31, 2021. Participants were asked about their desire to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and their perceived safety of the COVID-19 vaccine using 5-point Likert items with 1 corresponding to “I strongly don't want the vaccine” or “very unsafe for me” and 5 corresponding to “I strongly want the vaccine” or “very safe for me.” We categorized participants into the following 2 groups: (1) reproductive intent (preventing pregnancy vs attempting pregnancy, currently pregnant, or currently lactating), and (2) perceived COVID-19 occupational risk (high vs low). We used descriptive statistics to characterize the respondents and their attitudes about the vaccine. Comparisons between reproductive and COVID-19 risk groups were conducted using Mann-Whitney U tests. RESULTS: Our survey included 11,405 pregnancy-capable healthcare workers: 51.3% were preventing pregnancy (n=5846) and 48.7% (n=5559) were attempting pregnancy, currently pregnant, and/or lactating. Most respondents (n=8394, 73.6%) had received a vaccine dose at the time of survey completion. Most participants strongly desired vaccination (75.3%) and very few were strongly averse (1.5%). Although the distribution of responses was significantly different between respondents preventing pregnancy and those attempting conception or were pregnant and/or lactating and also between respondents with a high occupational risk and those with a lower occupational risk of COVID-19, the effect sizes were small and the distribution was the same for each group (median, 5; interquartile range, 4–5). CONCLUSION: Most of the healthcare workers desired vaccination. Negative feelings toward vaccination were uncommon but were significantly higher among those attempting pregnancy and those who are pregnant and lactating and also among those with a lower perceived occupational risk of contracting COVID-19, although the effect size was small. Understanding healthcare workers’ attitudes toward vaccination may help guide interventions to improve vaccine education and uptake in the general population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100557
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics & gynecology MFM
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • immunization
  • immunization in pregnancy
  • social media
  • vaccination campaign
  • vaccine acceptance
  • vaccine hesitancy
  • vaccine misinformation

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