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This article is the author's final published version in Vaccine: X, Volume 14, August 2023, Article number 100298.

The published version is available at Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Background and Objectives

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is implicated in the development of both anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers. Although HPV vaccination prevents the majority of anogenital and head and neck cancers (HNC), vaccination rates remain low, especially among males. Known barriers to vaccination are knowledge gaps and vaccine acceptability. The objective of this study is to explore parental knowledge, perceptions, and decision-making processes about HPV and HPV vaccination for both anogenital and HNC.


This qualitative study recruited parents of children and adolescents aged 8–18 to participate in semi-structured telephone interviews. Data were analyzed using thematic analyses, informed by an inductive approach.


A total of 31 parents participated in the study. Six themes emerged: 1) knowledge about HPV vaccines, 2) perceptions and attitudes toward cancers, 3) role of child’s sex in HPV vaccination, 4) decision-making processes around HPV vaccination, 5) communication with health care providers about HPV vaccines, and 6) influence of social networks. There were significant knowledge gaps about the vaccine’s indications and effects, especially for males and HNC prevention. Parents had concerns related to risks of the HPV vaccine. They cited pediatricians as important sources of information about vaccination and critical to their decision-making.


This study identified many parental knowledge gaps related to HPV vaccination, with information about males, HNC prevention, and risks particularly lacking. As parents identified pediatricians as the most important sources of information regarding HPV vaccination, this should empower pediatricians to educate families about this important preventive health measure, with a focus on addressing concerns about vaccine risks.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.