Attitudes to HPV vaccination among ethnic minority mothers in the UK: an exploratory qualitative study

Hum Vaccin. 2009 Feb;5(2):105-10. doi: 10.4161/hv.5.2.7368. Epub 2009 Feb 8.


Objective: The objective of this study was to explore attitudes to HPV vaccination among black and Asian mothers living in Britain.

Results: Five major themes emerged from the data: (1) Experience of vaccination, (2) Awareness of HPV vaccination and reactions to the information, (3) reasons for giving vaccination, (4) concerns about vaccination and (5) social influences. Visits to family abroad meant additional experience with vaccinations. There were concerns about how vaccine effects could vary by ethnicity as a result of physical differences (e.g., sickle-cell anaemia), and mothers wanted to know whether the HPV vaccine had been tested fully in their ethnic group. Most mothers struggled to understand why their daughter could not have the vaccination when she was older and some felt that 12/13 years was too young. Religious beliefs meant that mothers thought the vaccine would be less acceptable to other family members or would be perceived as unnecessary because of their low risk of HPV.

Design: This study used qualitative methodology. Face-to-face interviews were carried out with Black/Black British (n = 10) and Asian/Asian British mothers (n = 10). Interviews lasted approximately 40 minutes, were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed using Framework Analysis.

Conclusion: It is important to include ethnic minority parents in psychosocial research surrounding HPV vaccination to ensure that culturally specific barriers are identified and targeted, limiting ethnic inequalities in cancer risk. Ethnically dense areas of Britain may benefit from tailoring HPV information to the local population, reflecting differences in cultural beliefs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asians
  • Blacks
  • Child
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Mothers*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / immunology*
  • United Kingdom
  • Vaccination / psychology*
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines