Perceptions and attitudes towards vaccination during pregnancy in a peri urban area of Lima, Peru

Andrea C. Carcelen, Alba Vilajeliu, Fauzia Malik, Robert H. Gilman, Saad Omer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Maternal immunization has the potential to reduce both maternal and infant morbidity and mortality by protecting women from complications during pregnancy as well as conferring protection for babies who are too young to be vaccinated. Limited evidence is available about the drivers of maternal immunization in middle-income countries such as Peru. Vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria and influenza are recommended beginning in the second trimester in Peru; however, vaccination coverage has remained low in Peru compared to other countries in the region. As additional vaccines are recommended for administration in pregnancy, a better understanding of the perceptions and attitudes of pregnant women that influence vaccination are needed to design communication materials. Methods: We conducted an exploratory qualitative study to understand the individual level factors influencing pregnant women's vaccine uptake. We interviewed pregnant women about their knowledge, perceptions and experiences with vaccination during pregnancy. Community health workers recruited women in a peri urban area of Peru in April 2018. Results: Twelve women were interviewed, the majority of which had received vaccination during the current pregnancy. The most common reasons for vaccination were to protect the baby and because vaccines are effective. Concerns included vaccine safety during pregnancy and adverse effects on the unborn baby. Some women mentioned that because vaccines are given later in pregnancy, the unborn baby is stronger, so vaccines will not harm them. Women highlighted that the main reason for not being vaccinated was lack of information. They also noted that they were the decision-maker in whether or not they were vaccinated. Most women said that they trusted healthcare providers and that trust was linked to providing information through open communication. Conclusions: Overall, participants were supportive of maternal vaccination. They believed that vaccines were effective in protecting both their unborn baby and themselves. The main reason given for non-vaccination was lack of knowledge about vaccination in pregnancy. The strong desire expressed by study participants to get more information presents an opportunity for immunization programs to develop interventions that facilitate better information dissemination to pregnant women to increase vaccination uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Influenza
  • Maternal immunization
  • Maternal vaccination
  • Tetanus
  • Vaccination in pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Perceptions and attitudes towards vaccination during pregnancy in a peri urban area of Lima, Peru'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this