Maternal vaccination is increasingly part of antenatal care in the UK and around the world and trials of Group B streptococcus vaccines are ongoing, although we are still several years away from a vaccine potentially being available for use in the UK.
This study investigated the attitudes of pregnant women and healthcare professionals towards antenatal vaccinations, both in routine care and a clinical trial setting.
It surveyed 269 pregnant women, 273 midwives or obstetricians and 97 neonatal doctors across seven UK sites, assessing attitudes towards antenatal vaccinations, knowledge of Group B streptococcus, a hypothetical Group B streptococcus vaccine and participation in clinical vaccine trials.
The results showed 68% of pregnant women intended to receive a vaccine during their current pregnancy (183/269) and 43% of all respondents (115/269) reported they would be very or fairly likely to accept a vaccine against Group B streptococcus.
This was despite only 29% (55/269) knowing what Group B streptococcus was. This increased to 69% after additional information about Group B streptococcus was provided.
24% of pregnant women reported they would be likely to take part in a clinical trial of an unlicensed Group B streptococcus vaccine.
59% of maternity professionals and 74% of neonatologists would be likely to recommend participation in a Group B streptococcus vaccine trial to women, with the vast majority willing to be involved in such a study.
Incentives to take part cited by pregnant women included extra antenatal scans and the opportunity to be tested for Group B streptococcus.
The study also found that education and support from midwives would be key to successful implementation.
*Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Acta Obstetrica et Gynecologica Scandinavica