Parental decision about human papillomavirus vaccination for their daughters
Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a sexually transmitted infection common in teenagers and adults in their early 20s. Some types of HPV are associated with 90% of cervical cancer around the world. The risk of HPV infection in women can be reduced by giving HPV vaccine to girls beginning at the age of 9, as recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For children and young adolescents, parental decision on HPV vaccination is crucial for the uptake of HPV vaccine rate. This study explored the factors influencing parental decisions on HPV vaccination for their daughters. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted between February and March 2017. Data were collected from parents of girls aged 9 to 17 (n=420, 100 % response rate) in Hong Kong. A validated 27-item questionnaire was used to elicit parents’ knowledge on HPV and HPV vaccine, barriers to HPV vaccination, and willingness toward vaccinating their daughter(s). Results: Only 59.6% of respondents were aware of the HPV vaccine before this study. Among the parents who were aware of the vaccine, around 32% had already vaccinated their daughters.The majority (83%) of the parents had heard of HPV, but the knowledge levels were poor (70% scored below average). The reasons parents did not vaccinate their daughters were fear of the side-effects of the vaccine (85.7%) and feared the vaccine would affect the immune system of their daughters (38.5%); around 18% believed that HPV vaccination would encourage early sexual activity or promiscuity. More than half of the respondents (69.7%) were willing to vaccine their daughter(s).Conclusions: Given the evidence of suboptimal awareness about HPV vaccination, education and promotional strategies should be enhanced. Interventions should address parental concerns about the misconceptions between vaccination and early sexual activity and promiscuity.