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Influence of health literacy on acceptance of influenza and pertussis vaccinations: a cross-sectional study among Spanish pregnant women.

Castro-Sanchez, E. ORCID: 0000-0002-3351-9496, Vila-Candel, R., Soriano-Vidal, F. J. , Navarro-Illana, E. & Díez-Domingo, J. (2018). Influence of health literacy on acceptance of influenza and pertussis vaccinations: a cross-sectional study among Spanish pregnant women.. BMJ Open, 8(7), e022132. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022132


OBJECTIVES: Immunisations against influenza and Bordetella pertussis infection are recommended to pregnant women in Valencia (Spain), yet vaccination rates remain low. Health literacy (HL) appears as a crucial factor in vaccination decision-making. We explored the relation between HL of pregnant women and decisions to receive influenza and pertussis immunisations.

SETTING: University hospital in Valencia (Spain).

PARTICIPANTS: 119 women who gave birth at a hospital in Valencia (Spain) between November 2015 and May 2016. Women in the immediate postpartum period (more than 27 weeks of gestation), between November 2015 and May 2016 were included in the study. Women with impairments, language barriers or illiteracy which prevented completion of the questionnaires, or those who were under 18 years were excluded from enrolment.

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: HL level; influenza and pertussis immunisation rate; reasons for rejection of vaccination. RESULTS: 119 participants were included (mean age 32.3±5.5 years, 52% primiparous, 95% full-term deliveries). A higher education level was associated with Short Assessment of Health Literacy for Spanish Adults _50 (adjusted R2=0.22, p=0.014) and Newest Vital Sign (adjusted R2=0.258, p=0.001) scores. Depending on the scale, 56%-85% of participants had adequate HL. 52% (62/119) and 94% (112/119) of women received influenza and pertussis immunisation, respectively. Women rejecting influenza vaccine had a higher HL level (measured by SALHSA_50 tool) than those accepting it (Kruskal-Wallis test p=0.022). 24% of women who declined influenza vaccination felt the vaccine was unnecessary, and 23% claimed to have insufficient information.

CONCLUSIONS: Influenza vaccination rate was suboptimal in our study. Women with high HL were more likely to decline immunisation. Information from professionals needs to match patients' HL levels to reduce negative perceptions of vaccination.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:
Subjects: R Medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
Text - Pre-print
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

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