Results of the Survey on Vaccination during Pregnancy

Pertussis and Influenza Vaccination for Pregnant Women in Canada

In March 2018, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended vaccination of all pregnant women against pertussis to protect their unborn children until they can be vaccinated themselves. Most provinces and territories began offering this vaccine free of charge to pregnant women in the past two years.

Since 2011, the NACI has recommended that pregnant women should be vaccinated against influenza, and most provinces and territories offer the vaccine free of charge.

The Survey on Vaccination during Pregnancy, first conducted in 2019, was a component of the Childhood National Immunization Coverage Survey (CNICS). The biological mothers of 5091 children born between September 2018 and March 2019 were asked about vaccinations received during their pregnancy.

In 2019, provinces and territories began flu vaccination on different dates, with the latest having started on November 1st. For this reason, only 2,429 mothers who gave birth between December and March (i.e. who had at least one month to get vaccinated before the end of their pregnancy) were included in the analyses on influenza vaccination.

The number of participants from Nunavut was insufficient to allow reliable estimates. However, these participants are included in the national coverage estimates.

Key findings: pertussis

Of those mothers who knew if they had been vaccinated against pertussis during their pregnancy, 43% had been vaccinated. There were significant differences between provinces and territories. In addition, it should be noted that 10% of the mothers did not know if they had been vaccinated.

Vaccination against pertussis during pregnancy for women who gave birth between September 1st, 2018 and March 1st, 2019, by province or territory
Province or Territory Percentage of mothers vaccinated against pertussis during pregnancy (%)Table 1 Footnote *
Newfoundland and Labrador 16
Prince Edward Island 76
Nova Scotia 63
New Brunswick 71
Quebec 48
Ontario 41
Manitoba 58
Saskatchewan 74
Alberta 38
British Columbia 26
Yukon 57
Northwest Territories 85
Nunavut Table 1 Footnote **
CANADA 43
Table 1 Footnote *

Only mothers who knew if they had been vaccinated (n=4,607) are counted in these calculations.

Table 1 Return to footnote * referrer

Table 1 Footnote **

The number of participants from Nunavut was insufficient to allow reliable estimates.

Table 1 Return to footnote ** referrer

One of the reasons for the large differences between provinces is that some provinces have not begun offering the vaccine and promoting it to health care professionals and pregnant women at the same time.

The main reasons for not having been vaccinated against pertussis were:

Key findings: influenza

Of those mothers who knew if they had been vaccinated against influenza during pregnancy, 45% had been vaccinated. Again, there were significant differences between provinces and territories. In addition, 3% of mothers did not know if they had been vaccinated during their pregnancy.

Vaccination against influenza during pregnancy for mothers who gave birth between December 1st, 2018 and March 1st, 2019, by province or territory
Province or Territory Percentage of mothers vaccinated against influenza during pregnancy (%)Table 2 Footnote *
Newfoundland and Labrador 43
Prince Edward Island 74
Nova Scotia 73
New Brunswick 59
Quebec 34
Ontario 44
Manitoba 49
Saskatchewan 66
Alberta 49
British Columbia 50
Yukon 66
Northwest Territories 89
Nunavut Table 2 Footnote **
CANADA 45
Table 2 Footnote *

Only mothers who knew if they had been vaccinated (n=2,361) are counted in these calculations.

Table 2 Return to footnote * referrer

Table 2 Footnote **

The number of participants from  Nunavut was insufficient to allow reliable estimates.

Table 2 Return to footnote ** referrer

The differences between the provinces and territories may be explained by the fact that they have different recommendations regarding influenza vaccination during pregnancy.

The main reasons for not having been vaccinated against influenza were:

To be continued

Analysis of the data from the Survey on Vaccination During Pregnancy has just begun. Results of further analyses will be posted on canada.ca as they become available.

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