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Intention of parents to have male children vaccinated with the human papillomavirus vaccine


Background: Although already approved for use in males in some jurisdictions, there is little information about parental attitudes toward having their sons receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The goal of this study was to ascertain parental intentions to vaccinate their sons with an HPV vaccine and to determine factors that predict this intention.

Methods: Parents of children aged 8–18 years were recruited from across Canada through random digit dialling. Participants were asked to respond to a series of questions in the context of a Grade 6 (age 11/12 years old), publicly funded school-based HPV vaccine programme, including their intention to vaccinate their sons with the HPV vaccine. Parents were also asked about a series of characteristics thought to predict intention to vaccinate as well as demographic characteristics. Backwards logistic regression was conducted to calculate adjusted odds ratios (AOR) to identify the factors that are predictive of parents’ intention to vaccinate their son(s) against HPV.

Results: Of the 1381 respondents with male children, 67.8% (95% CI 65.3 to 70.3) intend to vaccinate their son(s) against HPV. Parents who had positive attitudes toward vaccines and the HPV vaccine in particular (AOR 41.5, 95% CI 9.5 to 181.7), parents who were influenced by subjective norms (AOR 7.8, 95% CI 5.8 to 10.5), parents who felt that the vaccine had limited influence on sexual behaviour (AOR 2.3, 95% CI 1.6 to 3.3) and parents who were aware of HPV (AOR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.0) were significantly more likely to report an intention to vaccinate boys against HPV. In contrast, residence in British Columbia compared to Atlantic Canada (AOR 0.4, 95% CI 0.2 to 0.8) and higher education (AOR 0.7, 95% CI 0.5 to 0.9) were negatively associated with intention to vaccinate. Parents who reported an intention to vaccinate their daughters were also highly likely to report an intention to vaccinate their sons (κ = 0.9, p<0.001).

Discussion: The majority of Canadian parents would intend to have their male children receive the HPV vaccine in the context of a publicly funded school-based immunisation programme. Overall attitudes toward vaccine, recommendations from health professionals and impact of the vaccine on sexual practices are important predictors of intention to have a male child receive the HPV vaccine.

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