At the 2023 ACOG Annual Clinical & Scientific Meeting, methods of reducing disparities in vaccinations among pregnant and postpartum people were discussed.
Community-driven action can improve vaccine equity among pregnant and postpartum individuals, according to a presentation by Tara C Jatlaoui, MD, MPH; Jorge E Figueredo, MPP; and Lulu Toumajian at the 2023 American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Annual Clinical & Scientific Meeting.
Rates of influenza vaccination vary between populations of pregnant women, with non-Hispanic Black patients seeing the lowest rates in the 2019 to 2020 through 2021 to 2022 influenza seasons. Similar disparities have been seen with Tdap vaccination, along with an overall decrease in vaccination rates.
Being unvaccinated or under-vaccinated has been reported in 79% to 84% of pregnant people. While the primary series has been completed by many individuals, most have not received boosters.
Campaign communication may improve vaccination rates. This includes talking about vaccine safety for moms and babies, helping patients be their own stewards, hearing from other moms about vaccine confidence, helping patients understand the threat of COVID-19, positioning the vaccine as a layer of protection for the mom and baby, and making information digestible and easy to access.
The Partnering for Vaccine Equity program was initiated by the CDC in 2021 to increase vaccine equity in racial and ethnic minority adult populations. This program included community, local, state, and national actions for improving vaccine equity, and focuses on partnerships to push community-level action.
The Asian American Health Coalition of the Greater Houston Area has displayed and enacted actions which help reduce disparities in vaccine access. This is accomplished through a 3-pronged approach. The first prong is public displays of confidence by trusted voices. Vaccinations and comments from public figures may increase overall trust in vaccines.
The second prong is getting to know your communities. This includes understanding myths in the community and how the spread and identifying influential messengers and trusted voices. The third prong is explaining the science in a digestible manner. This might involve discussing the roles of mRNA, antibodies, spike proteins, and immunoglobulins.
Video programs may also be used to improve vaccine equity by providing straightforward, simple vaccine information, along with helping individuals access vaccines. These may include personal accounts to show vaccine safety and efficacy.
Overall, credible information can be shared by trusted sources through community engagement. Organizations already trusted by communities can be reached out to by providers to learn from them and help them spread vaccine information.
Jatlaoui TC, Figueredo JE, Toumajian L. Increasing vaccine equity among pregnant and postpartum people through community-driven action. Presented at: 2023 Annual Clinical & Scientific Meeting. May 19-21. Baltimore, Maryland.