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Background: COVID-19 vaccination is generally regarded as an important preventive intervention in reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 which became a pandemic in March 2020. Although various excuses have been reported as reasons for vaccine hesitancy, vulnerable groups such as pregnant women have been excluded from immunization. This study sought to explore COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy amongst pregnant women receiving ante-natal care at a Nigerian teaching hospital.
Methods: One hundred and ninety-eight consecutively selected women attending the ante-natal clinic of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria were enlisted, and a self-administered questionnaire was completed by each participant. Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 23. Descriptive analysis was generated and summarized with the aid of a pie chart, bar chart and frequency tables. Chi-square statistic was used to test for associations between categorical variables and p value was set at 0.05.
Result: The mean age of the participants was 31.78±5.26 years. 152(76.8%) were gainfully employed and only 7 participants (3.5%) lacked formal education. 160 participants (83.3%) had good knowledge about the disease while 120 (62.5%) had good knowledge about the available vaccines. 46 participants (23.2%) had received their 1st vaccination prior to pregnancy and 115 (58.1%) were willing to receive the vaccine in their index pregnancy. 83 participants (41.9%), however, were unwilling to receive the vaccine and this hesitancy did not show any association with knowledge about COVID-19, educational attainment, employment status or ethnicity (p>0.05).
Conclusion: There exist vaccine hesitancy amongst pregnant women in developing countries and this may stem from deep socio-cultural beliefs and taboos about care in pregnancy. There is a need for continuous education on vaccine safety and possibly incorporating COVID-19 vaccination where applicable as part of routine immunization in pregnancy.
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