Danish health authorities have announced positive results from their media campaign to restore public confidence in the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, in response to negative reports questioning its safety and a related decline in uptake.
In 2014, HPV vaccine coverage began to plummet, going from 90 per cent to nearly 40 per cent among some cohorts of adolescent girls in Denmark, after media reports linking symptoms such as chronic pain and fatigue to HPV vaccination, despite no actual evidence to support this.
Danish authorities subsequently conducted survey and focus group research to better understand concerns parents had with HPV vaccination.
A key fact to emerge from the process was that parents wanted to learn more about the HPV vaccine.
In 2017, the Danish Health Authority consequently partnered up with the Danish Cancer Society and the Danish Medical Association to design an integrated information campaign, ‘Stop HPV – stop cervical cancer’, across traditional and social media to build awareness and improve health literacy.
“In 2017 around 30,000 girls began the HPV vaccination program, which is a doubling compared to the year before,” Stine Ulendorf Jacobsen, a consultant with the Danish Health Authority, said.
“We see the campaign as a success but we know that we’re not done yet.”