PARENTAL RISK PERCEPTION AND DECISION MAKING REGARDING VACCINATION OF THEIR ELIGIBLE CHILDREN WITH THE HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS VACCINE
Method: Following IRB approval, surveys were administered to parents of patients aged 9-26 who were seen at an academic urban pediatric practice. Surveys were offered in English or Spanish. Descriptive statistics and odds ratios were calculated. Fisher exact and Chi-square test were performed using VassarStats clinical calculator
Result: 193 surveys were evaluable. The median age of the reference patient was 14 (range 9-26) with 52% female and 48% male. Overall knowledge of the existence of the vaccine was high in this population with 81% of parents reporting prior knowledge of the vaccine. Private insurance status and higher annual household income were strongly associated with prior knowledge of the HPV vaccine (OR 12.1, 95% CI 3.6-41.5 and OR 10.3, 95% CI 2.4-45). 51% of parents reported that their child had been previously offered the HPV vaccine. There was no statistical difference in who was previously offered the vaccine by income, gender, insurance type, race or ethnicity. Interestingly, higher annual household income showed a trend towards association with not vaccinating the child with the HPV vaccine. Caucasian children were twice as likely to not be vaccinated against HPV (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.03-4.08). Among all respondents, the most commonly cited reasons for not vaccinating their child was a belief that the child was not sexually active, lack of information regarding the vaccine, and fear of vaccine-related side effects.
Conclusion: Parents’ misperception of vaccine-associated risks coupled with their belief that their child is not at risk for HPV-related diseases likely contributes to low vaccine uptake in this population. Structured recommendation and education from health care providers regarding rationale for vaccine in the appropriate age group as well as vaccine safety may lead to increased acceptance and uptake of the vaccine against human papilloma virus.