Immunization of pregnant women is a promising public health strategy to reduce morbidity and mortality among both the mothers and their infants. Establishing safety and efficacy of vaccines generally uses a hybrid design between a conventional interventional study and an observational study that requires enrolling thousands of study participants to detect an unknown number of uncommon events. Historically, enrollment of pregnant women in clinical research studies encountered many barriers based on risk aversion, lack of knowledge, and regulatory ambiguity. Conducting research enrolling pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries can have additional factors to address such as limited availability of baseline epidemiologic data on disease burden and maternal and neonatal outcomes during and after pregnancy; challenges in recruiting and retaining pregnant women in research studies, variability in applying and interpreting assessment methods, and variability in locally acceptable and available infrastructure. Some measures to address these challenges include adjustment of study design, tailoring recruitment, consent process, retention strategies, operational and logistical processes, and the use of definitions and data collection methods that will align with efforts globally.

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Keywords Antenatal care, Clinical trials, Developing country, Ethics, Immunization, Infectious diseases, International health, Low and middle income country, Pregnancy, Pregnant women, Public health, Regulatory, Research, Safety, Study design, Vaccination, Vaccines
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Journal Vaccine
Kochhar, S, Bonhoeffer, J, Jones, C.E. (Christine E.), Muñoz, F.M. (Flor M.), Honrado, A. (Angel), Bauwens, J. (Jorgen), … Hirschfeld, S. (Steven). (2017). Immunization in pregnancy clinical research in low- and middle-income countries - Study design, regulatory and safety considerations. Vaccine, 35, 6575–6581. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.03.103