Feelings of responsibility

We spoke to pregnant women about feelings of responsibility behind getting vaccinated. The decision about vaccinations was sometimes driven by a sense of responsibility or duty to accept them. This could be for wider society or for themselves and their unborn baby.

The following information was collected from women and is comprised of their personal viewpoints about vaccination

Responsibility to society

Some of the pregnant women we spoke to felt like they were doing it to keep other people, and the wider society healthy. There was a feeling that everyone was responsible to protect vulnerable people (such as family members who were unwell, or those who were unable to receive the vaccination).


So, they’re really, really important and I think particularly, you know, the herd immunity for people can’t get vaccinated, it’s important for the rest of us to get vaccinated to help them as well.
Susie, 25-34

Responsibility to unborn baby

Pregnant women also told us that they felt a responsibility to have vaccinations to protect their unborn baby. They wanted to do everything possible to protect the baby as much as possible, and vaccinations were thought to be part of that protection. The wish to protect their baby was stronger for many than the wish to protect themselves.


I don’t know if it’s a motherly instinct or what it is, but there, from the second you know you’re pregnant, your baby is the priority over yourself.
Sonia, 25-34
I mean, it’s not, it’s not about you. It’s about you . It’s about your baby, at the end of the day. So if I can help them, and if pregnant women are encouraged to help baby before they’re vulnerable to everything that they’re gonna get exposed to, I don’t see why you wouldn’t.
Matilda, 25-34

Motivation for whooping cough vaccination was particularly obvious, due to the protection that it offers to babies before they are old enough to receive the vaccination themselves. This was often stronger than motivation to have other vaccinations where the benefit and protection to baby was not as clear.

For me, I, having that whooping cough vaccine isn't for myself. That, that’s not me protecting myself from whooping cough. That’s me getting that at the right time to try and get immunity for the baby…so that’s more important to me. I think that’s part of, that’s, kind of, like, one of the first responsibilities of a parent, is to try and make sure that they are ready to come out into this world.
Jodie, 35-44

Responsibility to yourself

Some of the pregnant women we spoke to, also felt a responsibility to maintain their own health. This included staying fit and healthy to best protect their unborn baby, and following healthcare professional’s advice about vaccinations was often part of this.

I, I just kind of think, well, if you’re carrying a baby for, you know, nine months, then actually, if you can’t keep well, then it’s gonna ... You know, you ... I worry that you’d, you’d, you’d, somehow, you, you’d pass, you know, or, or you not being your fittest and healthiest would somehow impact the baby anyway. So I feel like it’s a bit of a win-win situation. If you protect the baby directly, then that’s great. If it’s protecting yourself so you can be fit and healthy and carry a healthy baby, then I think that’s, you know, another, another win there.
Vicky, 35-44

Alternatives to vaccination

We talked to pregnant women about alternatives to vaccination. Some felt that there were other steps that they could take to stay protected from illness,...