Safety and effectiveness of vaccinations

We spoke to pregnant women about their feelings around the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

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

Effectiveness of vaccinations

Pregnant women had questions and concerns about vaccinations more generally, even for those vaccinations that were not as new as the Covid-19 vaccination. Some pregnant women did not believe that the vaccinations offered to them were effective. This was particularly true when they, or others they knew, had still gotten ill despite having a vaccination. This discouraged women to have the vaccination as they did not believe it was effective.*1

Evidence box
*1 Effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccination has been shown, and although it is possible to get Covid-19 following vaccination the evidence shows us the chance of being needed to go into hospital or even dying is far reduced.

No, because I got it straight after so if I’m, I’m not going to have something if it’s not really going to prevent from getting it.
Reyna, 25-34

Some pregnant women felt that the vaccination would not protect their unborn baby, which discouraged them from accepting the vaccination.*2

Evidence box
*2 Evidence shows that vaccinations do provide protection through the placenta to the unborn baby, as well as providing protection to them in their first few months of life when they are too young to receive their own vaccinations.

The flu vaccine is for me. It’s not, it doesn’t immunise the baby, so it’s for me. Again, haven’t had it ever before, so it wasn’t something I was gonna do. And then COVID vaccine, it, it quite clearly shows that, that, like, in the, in, sort of, the leaflets and the research they give you, it’s absolutely nothing to do with the baby.
Sophie, 25-34

Safety of vaccinations

Some pregnant women had concerns about the safety of vaccinations they were offered. Not knowing how they would affect themselves or their unborn baby made them reluctant to accept them. This was felt more towards newer vaccinations such as Covid-19.*3

Evidence box
*3 There is evidence of effectiveness of the flu, whooping cough and Covid-19 vaccination, with research showing that the majority of pregnant women hospitalised from Covid-19 were unvaccinated.

I think I’d just need to know what effect it would have on my baby. Myself, obviously, like, I’m not too worried about, but if it has negative effects on the baby.
Fiona, 25-34
I’d want to know, what research have you done, how many pregnant women have you tested this.
Sonia, 25-34

For many pregnant women, they would weigh up of the perceived benefits of having the vaccination (based on how serious they think the illness would be), against any fears about safety of the vaccination.

I’d probably just wanna know, like, what the risks and side effects of having the vaccine are and the risk and side effects of not having the vaccine. So, if I don’t have it, what could happen? If I do have it, what could happen? And make a decision based on that.
Susie, 25-34
But I think that risk, that risk analysis, you know, where you’re weighing up, “Do the, do the,” you know, “Do the pros outweigh the cons?” and I always feel like they have. And, and, like I say, I’ve always took up vaccines at the first, kind of, opportunity.
Vicky, 35-44

Covid-19 vaccination

We spoke to pregnant women about their feelings about having the Covid-19 vaccination. When we talked about vaccinations, and what factors influenced the decisions they...