Article| Volume 28, ISSUE 6, P541-549, November 2014

HPV Vaccine Hesitancy: Findings From a Statewide Survey of Health Care Providers


      • Despite guidelines, many health care providers are not routinely recommending HPV vaccine for 11- to 12-year-old girls or boys.
      • Health care providers perceive parental HPV vaccine hesitancy to be common.
      • Perceptions of hesitancy may discourage providers from routinely recommending HPV vaccine.
      • Providers' self-efficacy to address hesitancy may be important for improving vaccine uptake.
      • Findings highlight potential tools for more effectively counseling vaccine-hesitant parents.



      Health care provider recommendations are critical for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake. We sought to describe providers' HPV vaccine recommendation practices and explore their perceptions of parental hesitancy.


      A statewide sample (n = 575) of Minnesota health care providers (20% pediatricians, 47% family medicine physicians, and 33% nurse practitioners) completed our online survey in April 2013.


      Only 76% of health care providers reported routinely recommending HPV vaccine for girls ages 11 to 12 years, and far fewer (46%) did so for boys (p < .001). A majority of providers reported asking questions about parents' concerns (74%), but many lacked time to probe reasons (47%) or believed that they could not change parents' minds (55%). Higher levels of self-efficacy and outcome expectations were associated with routine recommendations (p < .05).


      Findings suggest that providers' perceptions of hesitancy may discourage them from routinely recommending the HPV vaccine. Improving providers' self-efficacy to address hesitancy may be important for improving vaccination rates.

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      Annie-Laurie McRee, Assistant Professor, Division of Health Behavior and Health Promotion, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.


      Melissa B. Gilkey, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chapel Hill, NC.


      Amanda F. Dempsey, Associate Professor, Children's Outcomes Research Program, University of Colorado–Denver, Denver, CO.