Access to HPV vaccination in Japan: Increasing social trust to regain vaccine confidence

Vaccine. 2021 Oct 1;39(41):6104-6110. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2021.08.085. Epub 2021 Sep 8.


Vaccine hesitancy is a growing concern in global public health, and illustrates serious problems arising from loss of social trust. Japan is experiencing a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine crisis that started with a rapid decline in the vaccination rate in 2013 from approximately 70% to less than 1% and lasting for 7 years. We analyze Japan's case of vaccine hesitancy for HPV vaccine, using a framework for examining barriers to access and use of health technologies according to four categories: architecture, availability, affordability, and adoption. Significant problems were identified in the architecture of the decision-making body, public information availability, adoption of evidence in policy-making process, knowledge and confidence among providers, education to the public, and communication with end-users. We propose a series of actions to address these barriers. The national government should diversify the advisory committee to include broader scientific evidence and various viewpoints. Municipalities should actively distribute information cooperating with local providers. Professional associations should create an alliance to influence policy makers and deliver education to health care providers and end-users. Politicians should integrate opinions from citizens and scientists to implement an up-to-date policy. Civil society should share individual stories from cervical cancer patients and positive experiences of vaccinated girls. Mass media should use more diverse sources of information to report more comprehensive and science-based views. These actions would help build mutual trust among stakeholders, which is required to increase social trust in the HPV vaccine in Japan and thereby regain vaccine confidence and reduce preventable deaths and complications.

Keywords: Access framework; Cervical cancer; Social trust; Vaccine hesitancy.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines*
  • Trust
  • Vaccination


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines