Barriers and facilitators of vaccine hesitancy for COVID-19, Influenza, and Pertussis during pregnancy and in mothers of infants under two years: an Umbrella Review

Bethany Nichol, Jemma Louise McCready, Mary Steen, John Unsworth, Valentina Simonetti, Marco Tomietto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Vaccination during pregnancy has been repeatedly demonstrated to be safe and effective in protecting against infection and associated harms for the mother, developing baby, and subsequent infant. However, maternal vaccination uptake remains low compared to the general population.

Objectives: An umbrella review to explore the barriers and facilitators to Influenza, Pertussis and COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and within 2 years after childbirth, and to inform interventions to encourage uptake (PROSPERO registration number: CRD42022327624).

Methods: Ten databases were searched for systematic reviews published between 2009 and April 2022 exploring the predictors of vaccination or effectiveness of interventions to improve vaccination for Pertussis, Influenza, or COVD-19. Both pregnant women and mothers of infants under two years were included. Barriers and facilitators were organised using the WHO model of determinants of vaccine hesitancy through narrative synthesis, the Joanna Briggs Institute checklist assessed review quality, and the degree of overlap of primary studies was calculated.

Results: 19 reviews were included. Considerable overlap was found especially for intervention reviews, and the quality of the included reviews and their primary studies varied. Sociodemographic factors were specifically researched in the context of COVID-19, exerting a small but consistent effect on vaccination. Concerns around the safety of vaccination particularly for the developing baby were a main barrier. While key facilitators included recommendation from a healthcare professional, previous vaccination, knowledge around vaccination, and communication with and support from social groups. Intervention reviews indicated multi-component interventions involving human interaction to be most effective.
Conclusion: The main barriers and facilitators for Influenza, Pertussis and COVID-19 vaccination have been identified and constitute the foundation for policy development at the international level. Ethnicity, socioeconomic status, concerns about vaccine safety and side effects, and lack of healthcare professionals’ recommendations, are the most relevant factors of vaccine hesitancy. Adapting educational interventions to specific populations, person-to-person interaction, healthcare professionals’ involvement, and interpersonal support are important strategies to improve uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0282525
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2023


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