Development of Promising Interventions to Improve Human Papillomavirus Vaccination in a School-Based Program in Quebec, Canada: Results From a Formative Evaluation Using a Mixed Methods Design

JMIR Form Res. 2024 Jul 8:8:e57118. doi: 10.2196/57118.


Background: Despite the availability of school-based human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programs, disparities in vaccine coverage persist. Barriers to HPV vaccine acceptance and uptake include parental attitudes, knowledge, beliefs, and system-level barriers. A total of 3 interventions were developed to address these barriers: an in-person presentation by school nurses, an email reminder with a web-based information and decision aid tool, and a telephone reminder using motivational interviewing (MI) techniques.

Objective: Here we report on the development and formative evaluation of interventions to improve HPV vaccine acceptance and uptake among grade 4 students' parents in Quebec, Canada.

Methods: In the summer of 2019, we conducted a formative evaluation of the interventions to assess the interventions' relevance, content, and format and to identify any unmet needs. We conducted 3 focus group discussions with parents of grade 3 students and nurses. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for thematic content using NVivo software (Lumivero). Nurses received training on MI techniques and we evaluated the effect on nurses' knowledge and skills using a pre-post questionnaire. Descriptive quantitative analyses were carried out on data from questionnaires relating to the training. Comparisons were made using the proportions of the results. Finally, we developed a patient decision aid using an iterative, user-centered design process. The iterative refinement process involved feedback from parents, nurses, and experts to ensure the tool's relevance and effectiveness. The evaluation protocol and data collection tools were approved by the CHU (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire) de Québec Research Ethics Committee (MP-20-2019-4655, May 16, 2019).

Results: The data collection was conducted from April 2019 to March 2021. Following feedback (n=28) from the 3 focus group discussions in June 2019, several changes were made to the in-person presentation intervention. Experts (n=27) and school nurses (n=29) recruited for the project appreciated the visual and simplified information on vaccination in it. The results of the MI training for school nurses conducted in August 2019 demonstrated an increase in the skills and knowledge of nurses (n=29). School nurses who took the web-based course (n=24) filled out a pretest and posttest questionnaire to evaluate their learning. The rating increased by 19% between the pretest and posttest questionnaires. Several changes were made between the first draft of the web-based decision-aid tool and the final version during the summer of 2019 after an expert consultation of experts (n=3), focus group participants (n=28), and parents in the iterative process (n=5). More information about HPV and vaccines was added, and users could click if more detail is desired.

Conclusions: We developed and pilot-tested 3 interventions using an iterative process. The interventions were perceived as potentially effective to increase parents' knowledge and positive attitudes toward HPV vaccination, and ultimately, vaccine acceptance. Future research will assess the effectiveness of these interventions on a larger scale.

Keywords: HPV; HPV vaccine; Quebec; data collection; decision aid; descriptive analyses; effectiveness; focus group; human papillomavirus; immunization; intervention; nurse; nurses; parent; parents; school-based; school-based immunization program; strategies; student; students; user-centered; vaccination; vaccine; vaccine coverage; vaccine safety.