Understanding the challenges and opportunities in communicating vaccine risks and benefits to midwifery clients

Studies have shown that vaccinating pregnant mothers protects both mothers and children. Yet, recent surveys suggest that one third of Canadian parents are unsure about vaccinating. Mothers often decide how they feel about vaccines during pregnancy, and healthcare workers play an important role in helping them make these choices. More and more new parents in Canada choose to give birth with the help of a Registered Midwife (RM). Unlike other healthcare providers, RMs, following the guideline of Informed Choice, encourage their clients to make choices for themselves using the best available information. Because of this, some RMs feel that they should not make a strong pro-vaccine recommendation. This research project will focus on creating midwife training resources that are compatible with the model of Informed Choice. Using interviews with midwives, educators, and professional associations, we will develop tools for continuing education adapted to the RM profession. By better understanding the challenges midwives face when talking about vaccines, this study will help RMs enable their clients in BC and Canada to make better informed decisions about vaccination.

End of Award Update: October 2022

Most exciting outputs

Our research aimed to better understand how midwives discuss vaccination in pregnancy (and infancy) with their clientele. Through interviews with midwives and other professionals we learned more about vaccine conversations in pregnancies and some of the related challenges. We published research showing how Informed Choice conversations aimed to inform and empower pregnant people about vaccine decisions and described what changes could be made to better support midwives who discuss vaccination and provide vaccines to their clients.

Impact so far

We have created a vaccine communication training module with the Continuing Professional Development program at UBC, which is available in French and English to midwives across the country. Our team also published results from our interviews in international peer reviewed journals to reach a wide audience.

Potential influence

Hopefully, this research has shed light on how midwives are capable vaccine counsellors, with the training and expertise to engage and inform vaccine hesitant populations.

Next steps

This research is being continued by my colleagues at the Vaccine Evaluation Center at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Our team is continuing to collect data to develop and test a clinical intervention package that will provide communication tools like pamphlets and informative videos to be used in midwifery clinics in Canada.

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