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Midwives’ perceptions of vaccines and their role as vaccinators: The emergence of a new immunization corps

Massot, Estelle, Epaulard, Olivier
Vaccine 2018 v.36 no.34 pp. 5204-5209
influenza vaccines, midwives, neonates, pregnancy, pregnant women, questionnaires, students, vaccination, France
In France, midwives have recently been authorized to administer various vaccines to women (including pregnant women), newborns, and their family members. This is expected to enhance vaccine coverage. However, the French high level of vaccine hesitancy is also observed in some healthcare workers. We thus aimed to determine the perceptions of French midwives concerning vaccines.We distributed an anonymous online questionnaire between September and December 2017, targeting midwives who were still in training or working in the public or private sector.A total of 917 questionnaires were analyzed (median age 26 years). Almost half of participants (44.5%) were students. On a scale of 0–100, the median perception of the usefulness, safety, and trust of vaccinations were 92, 80, and 85, respectively. The mean scores of students were significantly higher for each perception, whereas in professional midwives, age and perceptions were negatively correlated. When asked whether there were scientific, philosophical, or religious arguments not to vaccinate, 83.2%, 69.8%, and 77.8% of participants disagreed, respectively. The vast majority (91.6%) was very or mostly favorable to the pertussis vaccine after delivery, but only around half (51.5%) to the influenza vaccine during pregnancy; those favorable to the pertussis vaccine were younger. A high proportion of participants (88.3%) considered that midwives were in a good position to vaccinate, with this proportion being even higher among students.These results suggest that the recent authorization regarding vaccine administration will result in better vaccine coverage of pregnant women and their families by midwives. The better perceptions of younger participants are also encouraging. However, the level of trust in vaccinations (only 80.1%) and the low number of participants favorable to the influenza vaccine during pregnancy suggest that initial and continuous training should be reinforced.