HPV vaccine and parents: which messages work best?

  • Pediatrics

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • To reach parents about the importance of the HPV vaccine for their children, the best messaging emphasizes benefits (e.g., cancer prevention) without being overly urgent.

Why this matters

  • Clinicians are the gateway to information to ease parent concerns so that children can benefit from the cancer-protective effects of the HPV vaccine.

Key results

  • The researchers assessed parent interest and information needs in 7 topic areas (e.g., diseases prevented, age to start the series) encompassing 28 messages.
  • Parents most often wanted to talk about the safety and side effects of the HPV vaccine.
  • Their other top priorities were diseases that HPV prevents and age for initiating the series.
  • The lowest priority for parents was talking about boys vs girls, school requirements/national recommendations, and vaccinating children who are not sexually active.
  • Parent confidence increased after messaging to parents, with highest increases after messages regarding age for initiating the series.
  • Providers might need to be ready to have longer-than-usual discussions around HPV vaccination.

Study design

  • Researchers surveyed messaging to 1196 US parents of children ages 9-17 years who had no more than the first dose in the HPV series.
  • Funding: CDC.

Limitations

  • Not a clinical setting.
  • Sample skewed to higher parent education level.

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