BACKGROUND: Pregnant women are at high risk for severe influenza. However, maternal influenza vaccination uptake in most World Health Organization (WHO) European Region countries remains low, despite the presence of widespread national recommendations. An influenza vaccination reduces influenza-associated morbidity and mortality in pregnancy, as well as providing newborns with protection in their first months. Potential determinants of vaccine hesitancy need to be identified to develop strategies that can increase vaccine acceptance and uptake among pregnant women. The primary objective of the systematic review is to identify the individual determinants of influenza vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women in Europe, and how to overcome the hesitancy. METHODS: Databases were searched for peer-reviewed qualitative and quantitative studies published between 2009 and 2019 inclusive. Databases included PubMed via MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register for Controlled Trials, PsycINFO, SAGE Journals, Taylor and Francis and Springer nature. These covered themes including psychology, medicine, and public health. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) approach, 11 studies were eligible and analyzed for significant determinants of influenza vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women in Europe. RESULTS: The most commonly reported factors were psychological aspects, for example concerns about safety and risks to mother and child, or general low risk perception of becoming ill from influenza. Doubts about the effectiveness of the vaccine and a lack of knowledge about this topic were further factors. There was also influence of contextual factors, such as healthcare workers not providing adequate knowledge about the influenza vaccine or the pregnant lady stating their antivaccine sentiment. CONCLUSION: Health promotion that specifically increases knowledge among pregnant women about influenza and vaccination is important, supporting a valid risk judgment by the pregnant lady. The development of new information strategies for dialogue between healthcare providers and pregnant women should form part of this strategy.

  • Europe
  • Pregnant women
  • Acceptance
  • Influenza