PhD Graduates – Meharry

Pamela Meharry, PhD
Spring 2012

“Maternal Influenza Vaccination: Strategies to Enhance Vaccine Uptake of Pregnant Women and Improve Mother and Infant Outcomes”

Pregnant women and young infants are two vulnerable populations at risk of severe complications from influenza. Maternal vaccination reduces the risk of influenza-related morbidity and mortality to both high-risk groups, yet the vaccine uptake of pregnant women is less than nationally mandated. A theoretically-based pamphlet entitled “Influenza in Pregnancy” was specifically designed to inform pregnant women, and in turn, increase vaccine uptake. A prospective pretest-posttest design randomized 135 pregnant women in the Northeastern United States to one of three groups, with the primary outcome measure of vaccination. 66.9% (89/133) were vaccinated against seasonal influenza. Both the pamphlet group 72.9% (35/48), (χ² = 6.81, df = 1 p = .009), and the pamphlet and benefit statement group 86.1% (31/36), (χ² = 13.74, df = 1, p < .001), had higher vaccine uptake than the control group 46.9% (23/49). Further significant differences were obtained through ANCOVA and Bonferroni pair-wise comparisons. Importantly, the pregnant women’s perception of vaccine safety (F = 6.20, df = 2-130, p < 0.01), and benefit to mother and infant, (F = 3.60, df = 2-130 p < 0.05), significantly improved compared to the control group. The novel pamphlet provided a simplistic means to considerably increase the influenza vaccine uptake among pregnant women.

Pictured above (from left to right):
Dr. Cheryl Beck, Dr. Cusson, Dr. Pamela Meharry, Dr. Marietta Vazquez, Dr. Xiaomei Cong