Assessment of Knowledge, Awareness, and Attitudes Towards Pertussis and Pertussis Immunization Strategies in Post-Partum Mothers
Given increases in the incidence of pertussis, protective strategies for young infants are used (cocooning, maternal immunization), but there is limited data regarding two key areas for implementation - knowledge of pertussis in pregnant women, and their willingness to participate in various preventative campaigns. With increasing rates of pertussis in Manitoba and anticipating future public health needs should Manitoba move toward a maternal immunization strategy, we surveyed post-partum women on their knowledge and beliefs of infant pertussis and prevention strategies.
Women were interviewed at the two obstetrical centers in Winnipeg. A survey was developed using the Health Belief Model, assessing knowledge level about pertussis, beliefs and attitudes towards pertussis immunizations, and willingness to participate in two protective strategies (third-trimester or mother only postpartum immunization). There was then an educational portion about pertussis and follow-up questions to determine whether this had changed their views.
Of 143 women surveyed over 8 months, 67% had a moderate knowledge score regarding pertussis and its risks; 55% of participants considered Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis) to be safe. Only 5% of women reported having discussed pertussis with their physician during their pregnancy.
Fifty-seven percent of participants would have agreed to receive Tdap immediately post-partum, and 65% would consider Tdap in the third trimester of a subsequent pregnancy. There was a significant link between pertussis knowledge levels and intent to vaccinate (p<0.001). Of 29 participants who disagreed with both protective strategies, 45% stated they would consider them after receiving the education about pertussis.
A significant proportion of post-partum women had limited knowledge of infant pertussis disease; however prevention strategies were acceptable to a majority of surveyed women. A consideration to improve uptake of either strategy in Manitoba would be to increase the target population’s knowledge and awareness of the significance of infant pertussis and the risks associated with pertussis infection, as well as the safety profile of the vaccine.