COVID Vaccine Information Sources Utilized by Female Healthcare Workers

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Clinical trials of the messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccines excluded individuals with active reproductive needs (attempting to conceive, currently pregnant, and/or lactating). Women comprise three-quarters of healthcare workers in the United States—an occupational field among the first to receive the vaccine. Professional medical and government organizations have encouraged shared decision-making and access to vaccination among those with active reproductive needs. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to characterize the information sources used by pregnancy-capable healthcare workers for information about the COVID-19 vaccines and to compare the self-reported “most important” source by the respondents’ active reproductive needs, if any. STUDY DESIGN: This was a web-based national survey of female, US-based healthcare workers in January 2021. Recruitment was done using social media and subsequent sharing via word of mouth. We classified the respondents into 6 groups on the basis of self-reported reproductive needs as follows: (1) preventing pregnancy, (2) attempting pregnancy, (3) currently pregnant, (4) lactating, (5) attempting pregnancy and lactating, and (6) currently pregnant and lactating. We provided respondents with a list of information sources (friends, family, obstetrician-gynecologists, pediatrician, news, social media, government organizations, their employer, and “other”) and asked respondents which source(s) they used when looking for information about the vaccine and their most important source. We used descriptive statistics to characterize the information sources and compared the endorsement of government organizations and obstetrician-gynecologists, which were the most important information source between reproductive groups, using the chi-square test. The effect size was calculated using Cramér V. RESULTS: Our survey had 11,405 unique respondents: 5846 (51.3%) were preventing pregnancy, 955 (8.4%) were attempting pregnancy, 2196 (19.3%) were currently pregnant, 2250 (19.7%) were lactating, 67 (0.6%) were attempting pregnancy and lactating, and 91 (0.8%) were currently pregnant and lactating. The most endorsed information sources were government organizations (88.7%), employers (48.5%), obstetrician-gynecologists (44.9%), and social media (39.6%). Considering the most important information source, the distribution of respondents endorsing government organizations was different between reproductive groups (P<.001); it was most common among respondents preventing pregnancy (62.6%) and least common among those currently pregnant (31.5%). We observed an inverse pattern among the respondents endorsing an obstetrician-gynecologist as the most important source; the source was most common among currently pregnant respondents (51.4%) and least common among those preventing pregnancy (5.8%), P<.001. The differences in the endorsement of social media as an information source between groups were significant but had a small effect size. CONCLUSION: Healthcare workers use government and professional medical organizations for information. Respondents attempting pregnancy and those pregnant and/or lactating are more likely to use social media and an obstetrician-gynecologist as information sources for vaccine decision-making. These data can inform public health messaging and counseling for clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100704
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics & gynecology MFM
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • coronavirus
  • immunization
  • immunization in pregnancy
  • information sources
  • social media
  • vaccine campaign
  • vaccine information


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