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Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique. 2012 Dec;60(6):447-53. doi: 10.1016/j.respe.2012.03.008. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Vaccination against seasonal flu in Switzerland: The indecision of pregnant women encouraged by healthcare professionals.

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  • 1Département de sociologie, université de Genève, Genève, Switzerland.



The recommendation for seasonal flu immunization from the second trimester of pregnancy, adopted in summer 2010 in Switzerland, is situated within a social context characterized by reluctance toward some vaccinations, a relatively low vaccination coverage against flu in the general population, and still heated debates fuelled by vaccination campaigns organized around the A(H1N1)pdm09 flu pandemic in winter 2009 to 2010. This study examines Swiss pregnant women's representations of the risks associated with seasonal flu and its vaccination.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 29 women, while in the maternity unit in March 2011, 3 to 5 days after giving birth. The interviews addressed the risks associated with flu, modes of protection, motivations for, and obstacles to vaccination.


The interviewees did not show major preoccupations regarding seasonal flu and they tended to distance themselves from the at-risk status. They did not directly challenge seasonal flu immunization; however, they were reluctant to do it. Their attitudes were supported by their personal experience and the experience of their social networks. Healthcare professionals, particularly medical doctors, gave very little direction, or even did not raise the issue with them.


Between the rather moderate positions of those who are against vaccination and those who support it, an intermediate grey zone, characterized by hesitation, was observed. Furthermore, the indecision of pregnant women is reinforced by doubts among the persons they are close to and also among the professionals they met during their pregnancy.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

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