Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is closely associated with cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is expected to protect against two-thirds of cervical cancer cases in Saudi Arabia.
Objectives: To determine the awareness and attitude regarding the HPV vaccine among Saudi parents attending family medicine clinics in Riyadh.
Materials and methods: All Saudi parents of patients of Family Medicine Pediatric Clinics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre (KFSH&RC), Riyadh, were invited to participate in this study between November 2019 and May 2020. A culturally sensitive and specially designed questionnaire was administered using an interview-based model. The data collected included sociodemographic information, knowledge of HPV and its vaccine, and attitudes regarding HPV acceptance.
Results: A total of 296 study participants completed our questionnaire on the HPV vaccine. About 70.6% of the participants were not aware of the HPV vaccine and the majority of them either did not know or did not associate HPV as an etiology for cervical cancer (38.8 and 37.8%, respectively). Only 28.6% of the participants were aware that cervical cancer can be prevented by a vaccine and 89.5% of the study participants did not receive the HPV vaccine for themselves or their children. The employee status was significantly associated with a history of receiving the HPV vaccine (χ2 (2) = 10.607, P =0.005), while age and the level of education had a statistically significant relationship with planning on having the HPV vaccine ((χ2 (9) = 51.841, P <.001) and (χ2 (12) = 23.977, P =0.02), respectively). The level of awareness of the HPV vaccine was significantly associated with a history of having the HPV vaccine; (χ2 (1) = 38.486, P <.001) as well as with planning on having the HPV vaccine (χ2 (1) = 38.486, P <.001). Moreover, the reasons for hesitancy were a statistically significant factor for unvaccinated respondents who were not planning to have the HPV vaccine (χ2 (21) = 97.689, P <.001) while it was not significantly associated with the unvaccinated respondents who were planning to have the HPV vaccine (χ2 (9) = 6.989, P =.63).
Conclusion: Our study clearly demonstrated a poor level of awareness and attitude toward the HPV vaccine among Saudi parents. A higher level of awareness of the HPV vaccine was significantly associated with planning on having the vaccine. There is a need for effective awareness programs for better HPV-related education in order to increase the acceptance of the HPV vaccine among Saudi parents.
Keywords: HPV; Saudi Arabia; prevalence; vaccine hesitancy.
Copyright: © 2022 Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care.