The aim of vaccination is to protect both individual patients’ and the broader public’s health. Although treatments to enhance individual and public health are often aligned, ethical issues may arise that necessitate a balance or compromise between these two goals. Major barriers to increasing vaccine uptake and acceptance include widespread misinformation and disinformation about vaccine safety on social media; limited knowledge and awareness about recommended vaccinations; and a lack of trust in the medical system, particularly in communities of colour, as a result of historical and ongoing injustices and systemic racism. Prioritization of individual liberties over group health; and vaccine postponement and rejection via nonmedical exemptions from state-mandated immunisation mandates. Obstetrician–gynecologists are in a unique position to assist in overcoming these hurdles by teaching and advising patients throughout their lives, giving necessary vaccines, and serving as role models in public health efforts. This paper contains updated guidelines on the ethical treatment of regular vaccination concerns, such as patient vaccination reluctance and refusal, nonmedical exemptions, immunisation during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and physician vaccination.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists provides clinical recommendations on immunisation and vaccination during public health emergencies in various publications and websites.