OBJECTIVES. Prophylactic vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV) are expected to be available for public use by 2007 and likely will be targeted to preadolescent children. Parental acceptance of these vaccines will be critical for their success. The objectives of this study were (1) to determine the overall acceptance of HPV vaccines for preadolescent children by parents, (2) to evaluate the influence of written educational information about HPV on parental acceptability of HPV vaccines, and (3) to identify independent predictors associated with HPV vaccine acceptability by parents.
METHODS. A randomized intervention study within a cross-sectional survey was conducted. Parental HPV vaccine acceptability was measured under 3 different hypothetical scenarios. A self-administered survey on the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about HPV and HPV vaccines was sent to 1600 parents of 8- to 12-year-old children. In addition to a baseline paragraph about HPV that was received by all study participants, a random half of the study participants received a detailed “HPV Information Sheet” outlining the epidemiology and potential clinical sequelae of HPV infection. Independent predictors of parental HPV vaccine acceptability were determined using multivariate linear regression models.
RESULTS. Parents who received the HPV information sheet had higher mean scores on the HPV knowledge assessment tool than the control group. However, despite this apparent improvement in knowledge, there was not a statistically significant difference in HPV vaccine acceptability between the 2 groups.
CONCLUSIONS. Providing parents with an HPV information sheet did seem to improve knowledge about HPV, but this increased knowledge had little effect on the acceptability of these vaccines by parents for their children. Instead, attitudes and life experiences seemed to be more important factors influencing HPV vaccine acceptability among parents.