Original Research

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women in an antenatal clinic in Durban, South Africa

Sahra Ashkir, Tashlen Abel, Olive P. Khaliq, Jagidesa Moodley
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 38, No 1 | a516 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v38i1.516 | © 2023 Sahra Ashkir, Tashlen Abel, Olive P. Khaliq, Jagidesa Moodley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 February 2023 | Published: 31 August 2023

About the author(s)

Sahra Ashkir, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Tashlen Abel, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Olive P. Khaliq, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Jagidesa Moodley, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Mass administration of vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the most efficient intervention against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Recently, vaccinations were shown to be safe and effective during pregnancy. However, vaccination rates are low in low- and middle-income countries, and vaccine hesitancy is a major limiting factor.

Objectives: To investigate the rate of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women.

Method: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based investigation of 313 unvaccinated pregnant women attending an antenatal clinic in Durban, South Africa (SA). The questionnaire included clinical and socio-demographic data, and reasons for vaccine hesitancy were recorded and evaluated.

Results: Of 313 women participating, 126 (40.3%) were vaccinated against COVID-19, 21/313 = 6.7%; for those unvaccinated, 21/187 (13.9%) were planning to be vaccinated. However, most unvaccinated women, 174 of 187 (93%), showed COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy among pregnant women in Durban, SA, is exceptionally high. This requires urgent attention by the relevant health authorities (both professional health organisations and the SA Department of Health) as many countries experience different waves of the variants of SARS-CoV-2 and herd immunity may not have been achieved.

Contribution: This study showed a high vaccine acceptance hesitancy rate among pregnant women in SA.


Keywords

pregnancy; vaccination; COVID-19; hesitancy; African ancestry

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Crossref Citations

1. Psychosocial Aspects of Maternal Reproductive Health in the Era of COVID-19
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