CPHA Canvax

Project Title: Midwives and Vaccination: Delivering evidence based care
Funding Recipient: Canadian Association of Midwives
Project Contact: Tonia Occhionero, Executive Director (tocchionero@canadianmidwives.org)
Project Period: April 18, 2019 – March 31, 2020

About the Project 

This project, led by the Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM), will develop and disseminate evidence-based information and resources about vaccines for midwives and their clients. Through consultations with CAM members, along with key experts, CAM will develop the following products regarding vaccination during pregnancy and infancy: a Position Statement; draft Clinical Practice Guidelines; and information resources for both midwives and their clientele. To ensure that these resources are relevant and address the needs of midwives, this project will conduct a survey and focus group research with midwives and midwifery clients about their concerns and needs around vaccines. In line with the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, this project will also address the particular needs of Indigenous communities and the midwives who work with these communities.


The goals of this project are: to gain a stronger understanding of the needs and challenges faced by midwives’ regarding vaccine information and knowledge (for their use and for sharing with clients); to gain an understanding of midwifery client needs around vaccines; to increase midwives’ knowledge about vaccines; to increase midwives’ capacity to initiate discussion with and respond to questions from their clients, including Indigenous clients, about vaccines; and to make relevant and appropriate vaccine-related materials accessible to midwifery clients. 


  1. Increase capacity of midwives to provide their clients with information and support on vaccines; and,

  2. Increase demand for vaccination among midwifery clients.


  • Short Term:
    • Development of Clinical Practice Guidelines* on vaccination during pregnancy

    • Development of a Position Statement on vaccination during pregnancy

    • Development of accessible, appropriate, evidence-based, print and electronic resources on vaccination for midwives and their clients

    • Development of an in-person workshop and interactive webinar regarding having difficult conversations with clients about vaccines

  • Medium Term:
    • Midwifery professional leadership has increased knowledge of needs of practicing midwives around vaccine information;

    • Increased capacity of midwives to provide accurate, evidence-based, respectful information to clients about informed-decision making around vaccines;

    • Increased capacity of midwives to provide culturally safe and relevant support and information about vaccines to Indigenous clients;

    • Increased capacity of midwives to dialogue with vaccine hesitant clients;

    • Midwifery clients receive high quality appropriate resources on vaccines.

  • Long Term:
    • Increase in healthcare providers’ ability to vaccinate their clients;

    • Increase in demand for vaccination among midwifery clients.

*Note, due to the short duration of the funding period, it was agreed that a final version of the Clinical Practice Guidelines would be completed in the post-funding period.

The challenge that the project addresses

Research suggests that midwives may be more likely to encounter vaccine-hesitant clients than other healthcare professionals but also that, due to the association of midwifery with the natural birth movement and alternative healthcare, midwives may experience a higher level of trust from clients who are suspicious of other healthcare providers. Among other considerations, these factors make midwives (who are, in fact, regulated health professionals in Canada) well positioned to reach clients who are vaccine hesitant, who may not see other healthcare professionals, or who may feel less able to share their concerns about vaccines with other healthcare providers.

About the Canadian Association of Midwives

The mandate of the Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM), which also encompasses the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM), is to provide leadership and advocacy for midwifery throughout Canada as an autonomous, self-regulated, publicly funded and vital part of primary maternal and newborn care. CAM promotes the development of the profession in the public interest and contributes the midwifery perspective to the national health policy agenda. CAM also develops and promotes resources to support normal birth and the midwifery model of care. CAM supports midwives nationwide with information and resources they need to guide their clients through informed and evidence-based decision making. CAM supports NACM as the voice of Indigenous midwifery in Canada, and recognizes NACM’s expertise in working with Indigenous midwives and communities to guarantee culturally-safe care for Indigenous families in rural and urban areas.