Introduction Studies from USA have shown that pregnant women are four times as likely to develop serious illness and four times more likely to be admitted to hospital with swine flu than the general population.1 The WHO has reported that 7–10% of hospitalised patients with swine flu are pregnant women.2 The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) advises all pregnant women to be vaccinated against H1N1.
Methods The authors wanted to know the public perception of the vaccination and the uptake in the pregnant community. Women attending antenatal scans completed a questionnaire on whether they had been offered/received the vaccine and postnatal women who had recently delivered. The authors also looked the HPA (Health Protection Agency) website.
Results At 12/40: 58% were offered the vaccine. 17% (4) were vaccinated by 12/40. One woman told ‘not before 12/40’; another told by midwife ‘unsafe”. At 21/40: 69% (20/29) were offered vaccination. 55% (11/20) already vaccinated by 21/40 scan. One declined, three planned to have, five were undecided. Postnatal: 64% had been offered vaccine in pregnancy. Only six received the vaccine – 26% declined. Data from the HPA demonstrated that in December, general practitioner surgeries in part of the country reported a vaccine uptake of 12% in the pregnant population.
Conclusion Despite guidance from HPA and RCOG, the authors are failing to vaccinate all pregnant women. Women still have concerns regarding safety of the H1N1 vaccine. Staff need to be consistent when counseling women about the vaccine.
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