Background: Adequate maternal vaccination coverage is critical for the prevention and control of infectious disease outbreaks such as pertussis, influenza, and more recently COVID-19. To guide efforts to increase vaccination coverage this study examined the extent of vaccination coverage in pregnant New Zealand women over time by area-level deprivation and ethnicity.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study was used consisting of all pregnant women who delivered between 01 January 2013 and 31 December 2018, using administrative health datasets. Outcomes were defined as receipt of influenza or pertussis vaccination in any one of the relevant data sources (National Immunisation Register, Proclaims, or Pharmaceutical collection) during their eligible pregnancy. Ethnicity was prioritised as Māori (NZ indigenous), Pacific, Asian, and Other or NZ European and deprivation was defined using New Zealand Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).
Results: Between 2013 and 2018, Asian women had the highest maternal vaccination coverage (36%) for pertussis, while Māori and Pacific women had the lowest, 13% and 15% respectively. Coverage of pertussis vaccination during pregnancy in low deprivation Māori women was 24% and 28% in Pacific women. This is in comparison to 30% and 25% in high deprivation Asian and European/Other women, respectively. Similar trends were seen for influenza.
Conclusion: Between 2013 and 2018 maternal vaccination coverage increased for pertussis and influenza. Despite this coverage remains suboptimal, and existing ethnic and deprivation inequities increased. There is an urgent need to focus on equity, to engage and support ethic communities by creating genuinely accessible, culturally appropriate health services.