Another look at the human papillomavirus vaccine experience in Canada

Am J Public Health. 2011 Oct;101(10):1850-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300205. Epub 2011 Aug 18.


Policy debates about immunization frequently focus on classic trade-offs between individual versus collective well-being. Publicly funded immunization programs are usually justified on the basis of widespread public benefit with minimal individual risk. We discuss the example of the policy process surrounding the adoption of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in Canada to consider whether public good arguments continue to dominate immunization policymaking. Specifically, we show how a range of stakeholders framed HPV vaccination as a personal-rather than a public-matter, despite the absence of a controversy over mandatory immunization as was the case in the United States. Our findings suggest an erosion of the persuasiveness of public good arguments around collective immunization programs in the policy discourse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / organization & administration
  • Mandatory Programs
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Policy Making
  • Politics
  • Public Health
  • United States
  • Women's Health


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines