Childbearing-Age Women Harbor Doubts About Vaccine Safety

Woman getting vaccinated.
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Rates of concern higher than those of older women or men of any age.

HealthDay News — Higher percentages of women of childbearing age (18 to 49 years old) do not think that vaccination against COVID-19 and the flu during pregnancy is safe vs older women (aged 50 years and older) and all adult men, according to a report released April 10 by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

The analysis included data from 10 waves of a nationally representative panel survey of 1657 US adults, first empaneled in April 2021. The 10th wave was conducted January 10 to 16, 2023.

The results showed that the majority of women of childbearing age (53%) know that the seasonal flu vaccine “is safe for pregnant women”; 17% of women of childbearing age incorrectly think that is false. Doubts about flu vaccine safety for pregnant women are higher for women of childbearing age (17%) than women aged 50 years and older (4%) or adult men (9%). Results were even more pronounced with the COVID-19 vaccine (data collected in August 2022), with 42% of childbearing-age women knowing that the COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy is safe and effective, but 31% saying it is not. Again, doubts in childbearing-age women were higher (31%) than doubts of older women (15%) or adult men (19%).

“Because the COVID and flu vaccines help protect both those who are pregnant and their infants, dispatching misconceptions about them should be a public health priority,” Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, said in a statement. “That women of childbearing age are showing doubt in the safety of current, authorized vaccines is worrisome.”

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