Did the COVID-19 experience change U.S. parents’ attitudes towards HPV vaccination? Results from a national survey.

Publication date: Feb 14, 2024

In the U. S., uptake of the HPV vaccine remains below coverage goals. There is concern that negative reactions to emergency initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccination, may have increased some parents’ hesitancy towards all vaccines, including HPV. Understanding how different parent populations view routine vaccination post-pandemic is key to strategic efforts to maintaining and increasing uptake of HPV vaccine. In early 2022, we recruited an online panel of English-speaking U. S. parents and caregivers, who used the social media platform Twitter and had HPV vaccine-eligible but unvaccinated children age 9-14 years. Respondents completed a 20-minute survey measuring knowledge, attitudes and intentions regarding HPV vaccination for their child, as well as background socio-demographics and health information-seeking practices. Questions regarding experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic included changes in access to preventive care, and perceptions of whether pandemic experiences had positively or negatively affected their attitudes about routine vaccination, with open text capturing reasons for this change. Among 557 respondents, 81 % were definitely or likely to vaccinate their child against HPV, with 12 % being uncertain, and 7 % unlikely to vaccinate. Regarding routine vaccination, most (70 %) felt their attitudes had not changed, while 26 % felt more positively, and only 4 % felt more negatively. Reasons for positive attitude change included increased appreciation for vaccines overall, and motivation to proactively seek preventive care for their child. Negative attitude changes stemmed from distrust of COVID-19 public health efforts including vaccine development, and disillusionment with vaccines’ ability to prevent disease. In multivariable models, intention to vaccinate was greater among parents reporting greater education, Democratic affiliation, greater religiosity, and urban residence. Negative attitude change due to the pandemic independently predicted reduced HPV vaccination intention, while positive attitude change predicted positive intention. Post-pandemic, most U. S. parents remain committed to vaccinating their children against HPV. However, addressing residual COVID-19 concerns could improve uptake among vaccine-hesitant parents.

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Concepts Keywords
Democratic COVID-19 vaccine
Pandemic HPV vaccine
Twitter Parental intention
Vaccinating Vaccine hesitancy


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease VO vaccination
disease VO vaccine
disease MESH emergency
disease VO unvaccinated
disease VO COVID-19 vaccine

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