New strategies will be critical to reduce infant mortality and severe morbidity — there are still 5.2 million newborn deaths and stillbirths each year. The decline in newborn mortality has not kept pace with the reduction in under-five deaths and is slowest in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs). Maternal immunization is a promising intervention to protect infants when they are most vulnerable – in utero and their first few months of life, before they can receive their own vaccines. Successfully introducing new vaccines for pregnant women in LMICs will require collaboration between two fields — (1) immunization and (2) maternal, newborn and child health — that use different service delivery approaches, operate under different policy and funding paradigms, and are not always integrated. In May 2018, stakeholders from these distinct communities convened to identify challenges and opportunities associated with delivering new maternal immunizations. Participants agreed that antenatal care is a logical platform. However, in many resource-constrained settings, antenatal care providers are already overburdened, and most women do not receive the recommended number of antenatal visits. Implementing maternal immunization could help increase antenatal care attendance by offering an additional safe and effective intervention that women value. Substantial effort is needed to demonstrate the benefits of maternal immunization to decision-makers and providers, and to ensure that countries and health systems are ready for introduction. To that end, participants identified the following priorities: assure coherence of policies for introducing new vaccines for pregnant women and strengthen maternal health interventions; generate demand for existing, recommended, and new maternal vaccines; conduct socio-behavioral, health systems and implementation research to shape optimal vaccine delivery strategies; and strengthen antenatal and perinatal care quality. To achieve these aims, collaboration across fields will be essential. Given that new maternal vaccines are advancing in clinical development, time is of the essence.
- Antenatal Care
- Maternal Immunization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases