Is the pre-natal period a missed opportunity for communicating with parents about immunizations? Evidence from a longitudinal qualitative study in Victoria, British Columbia Rubincam, Clara; Greyson, Devon; Haselden, Constance; Saunders, Robin; Bettinger, Julie A.
Background Growing evidence shows that many parents begin the decision-making process about infant vaccination during pregnancy and these decisions – once established – may be resistant to change. Despite this, many interventions targeting vaccination are focused on communicating with parents after their baby is born. This suggests that the prenatal period may constitute a missed opportunity for communicating with expectant parents about infant vaccination. Methods Using a longitudinal qualitative design, we conducted two interviews (prepartum and postpartum) with women (n = 19) to explore the optimal timing of vaccination information. The data were analyzed thematically, and examined across all sets of pre- and post-partum interviews as well as within each individual participant to draw out salient themes. Results Most participants formed their intentions to vaccinate before the baby was born and indicated that they would welcome information about vaccination from their maternity care providers. However, few individuals recalled their maternity care providers initiating vaccination-related conversations with them. Conclusion The prenatal period is an important time to begin conversations with expectant parents about vaccinating their infants, particularly if these conversations are initiated by trusted maternity care providers. More information is needed on how maternity care providers can be better supported to have these conversations with their patients.
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