Noninitiation and Noncompletion of HPV Vaccine Among English- and Spanish-speaking Parents of Adolescent Girls: a Qualitative Study

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Sociology and Criminology


HPV vaccination, Noncompletion, Noninitiation, Qualitative research



The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends routine human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for female adolescents aged 11 to 12 years, yet vaccination rates remain low. We conducted a qualitative study to understand English- and Spanish-speaking parents' reasons for noninitiation or noncompletion of the HPV vaccine series for their daughters.


Parents of female adolescents aged 12 to 15 years who had not initiated or not completed the HPV vaccine series were identified through administrative data in 2 large urban safety net health care systems in Colorado. Focus groups and in-depth interviews were conducted with English-speaking parents and in-depth interviews were conducted with Spanish-speaking parents. All data were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for thematic content by experienced analysts using established qualitative content analysis techniques.


Forty-one parents participated in the study. Thirty parents participated in individual interviews and 11 parents participated in 1 of 2 focus groups. The most common reasons for noninitiation and noncompletion among English-speaking parents included a low perceived risk of HPV infection, vaccine safety concerns, and distrust of government and/or medicine. In contrast, Spanish-speaking parents most often reported that providers had either not encouraged initiation of the HPV vaccine series or had not explained the necessity of completing the series. Some noninitiating parents, particularly Spanish-speaking ones, also cited concerns that vaccination would encourage sexual activity.


The reasons for noninitiation and noncompletion of the HPV vaccine series differed substantially between English- and Spanish-speaking parents. To maximize uptake of HPV vaccine, varying approaches might be needed to effectively target specific populations.

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