Policy and socio-cultural differences between cantons in Switzerland with high and low adolescent vaccination coverage for hepatitis B and HPV

Vaccine. 2019 Dec 10;37(52):7539-7546. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.09.085. Epub 2019 Oct 17.


Vaccination recommendations in Switzerland are national, but vaccine coverage varies greatly from one canton to another, particularly for vaccinations recommended in adolescence. To explain these differences, we studied vaccination practices and socio-cultural views from the vantage points of policy makers, healthcare providers and community adolescents and parents in 4 cantons with low (LVC) and 4 cantons with high (HVC) vaccination coverage for hepatitis B (HBV) and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. In-depth semi-structured interviews were administered to a policy maker, a private practitioner and 4 to 7 community members (adolescents and parents of adolescents) from each of the 8 cantons. LVCs were notable for less government involvement in vaccination issues, more autonomy of municipalities for school health, lower density of pediatricians, less information about these vaccines, greater emphasis on individual rather than government responsibility for vaccinations and for anticipated community hesitancy. Doctors in HVCs more actively advocated for vaccines. Community views in HVCs were more collectivistic and reliant on schools as a source of information than in LVCs. In both groups, hesitancy and concerns about efficacy were greater for HPV than for HBV vaccine. Findings suggest more systematic involvement of health and school authorities will be appreciated by adolescents and their parents, and will improve vaccination coverage. Interventions focused only on community awareness and hesitancy are likely to be inadequate without efforts to reach policy makers and doctors.

Keywords: Adolescent health; HPV vaccine; Health system; Hepatitis B vaccine; School health; Vaccination coverage; Vaccine hesitancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Parents
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data
  • Switzerland
  • Vaccination Coverage / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Vaccination Coverage / statistics & numerical data
  • Vaccination Refusal


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines