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Thesis Defence: Perception Of COVID-19 Vaccines Among Pregnant People in BC: A Qualitative Study

August 15, 2023 at 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Karyann Dorn, supervised by Dr. Marie Tarrant, will defend their thesis titled “Perception Of COVID-19 Vaccines Among Pregnant People in BC: A Qualitative Study” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies.

An abstract for Karyann Dorn’s thesis is included below.

Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in person defences.


An active pandemic is a global crisis, COVID-19 began in the winter of 2019 and is responsible for over 6.9 million deaths worldwide (WHO, 2023). The most effective option for preventing hospitalisation and mortality due to the global pandemic is the new COVID-19 vaccine. Pregnant persons at high risk for Covid-19 were given conflicting advice during the early vaccine roll-out due to a lack of data from the original trials. Limited vaccine safety data for pregnancy made them more vulnerable to misinformation on social media. This qualitative descriptive study asks, what are the perceptions of pregnant persons toward COVID-19 that contribute to receiving or refusing the new COVID-19 vaccine? By describing their perceptions, beliefs, and concerns, the participants in this study contributed to understanding the influences that deter or encourage receiving the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy. In the fall of 2021, 25 pregnant British Columbians were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide. The health belief model was used to analyse the data, which focused on participants’ perceptions of COVID-19 susceptibility and severity, benefits and barriers to vaccines, and cues to action. Similar to pregnant people worldwide, they faced difficulty in deciding to receive the new COVID-19 during an active pandemic. Participants described it as a “very difficult decision,” and their “biggest fear is the effects on the unborn baby.” Their responses showed they recognised their susceptibility to COVID-19, even if they disagreed with its severity.
Traditional constructs of the health belief model, such as cues from family and friends, were less influential on participants’ vaccine choices, and disinformation from social media influencers has created a modern barrier to receiving vaccines during pregnancy. Another influential factor was “the health practitioner who took time to validate their concerns” and “were invested and did not laugh at their fears.” COVID-19 vaccines will become seasonal, and promotional materials should emphasise the risks of the virus and that the vaccine is safe during pregnancy. The clinical recommendation is to advocate for patient-centered care: a maternity healthcare practitioner who will make time to listen and answer questions on the vaccine using transparency.


August 15, 2023
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


University Centre (UNC)
3272 University Way
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada
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Additional Info

Room Number
Registration/RSVP Required
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Health, Research and Innovation
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates