Text messages do not increase vaccination rates among pregnant women

Text messages to encourage pregnant women to receive influenza vaccines are not effective, according to a recent study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Michelle Moniz, a doctor with the Magee-Women's Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh, and her colleagues randomly assigned 216 pregnant women at less than 28 weeks of gestation who had not yet received the flu vaccine to one of two different sets of 12 weekly text messages. The messages either encouraged general pregnancy health or encouraged general pregnancy health plus influenza vaccination, HealthDay News reports.

The researchers found the influenza vaccine rate was similar in both groups. The vaccination rate was 31 percent for the general pregnancy health group and 33 percent for the influenza vaccination recommendation group.

"Text messaging prompts were not effective at increasing influenza vaccination rates among a low-income, urban, ambulatory obstetric population," Moniz said, according to HealthDay News.

In a related study, Michelle Henninger, a scientist with Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Ore., and her colleagues surveyed 552 pregnant women who had not received the influenza vaccine during the 2010-2011 influenza season. The researchers asked the women about their attitudes, knowledge and beliefs about vaccination.

Henninger's team found vaccination was predicted by trust in recommended guidelines, perceived seriousness of influenza, perceived sensitivity to influenza, concerns about vaccine safety and perceived regret about not receiving the vaccine, HealthDay News reports.