Background: Routine human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination for 12-13-year-old girls will be introduced in the UK from September 2008. The aim of the present study was to identify correlates of parents' anticipated uptake of HPV vaccination for their sons and daughters.
Methods: Self-administered questionnaires were completed by 353 parents of school-aged children living in Brighton and Hove (England). The main outcome measure was anticipated acceptance of HPV vaccination for children. Putative predictors of acceptance of HPV vaccination included general attitudes toward vaccination, beliefs about the impact on adolescent sexual behaviour of vaccines against sexually transmissible infections, and knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer.
Results: Multivariate regression revealed that greater perceived benefits of HPV vaccination, greater general belief in the protection offered by vaccination, and greater support for adolescent sexual health services explained substantial proportions of the variance in HPV vaccine acceptability for both sons and daughters. For both sons and daughters, the most important correlate of vaccine acceptability was general belief in the protection offered by vaccination: this variable explained 40-50% of variance. Acceptability of vaccination appeared to improve following the provision of brief information about the links between HPV and cervical cancer and the proposed introduction of HPV vaccination.
Conclusions: Uptake of HPV vaccination may be maximised by: improving attitudes toward the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccinations; countering concerns that provision of sexual health services for young people will encourage promiscuous or unsafe sexual behaviour; and improving knowledge about the role of HPV in cervical cancer aetiology.