A qualitative study of parental associations and beliefs regarding the HPV vaccination for Dutch boys

Judith R Venderbos, Renske Eilers, Hein de Vries, Kim van Zoonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) occurs in 80% of the sexually active population and may cause certain types of cancers among men and women. Vaccination against HPV could prevent cancers associated with HPV. The Dutch National Immunization Program (NIP) only includes HPV vaccination for girls, but the HPV vaccination for boys will be implemented in 2022. Little is known about the awareness of parents and their attitudes regarding the vaccination for boys. However, these concepts might influence the intention to vaccinate one's child. Gaining insight in these factors could lead to more effective communication strategies.

METHODS: This qualitative research aimed to explore parental associations and beliefs regarding the HPV vaccination for boys. In total, 16 interviews were conducted with parents. Topics discussed were primary associations with vaccinations, associations with HPV-vaccination and information needs regarding the HPV vaccination for boys.

RESULTS: Most parents were unaware about HPV infections in boys as well as the possibility to vaccinate their sons. Furthermore, after hearing about the vaccine parents reported uncertainties about anticipated adverse effects of the vaccine. Other themes that emerged were difficulties with the proposed age at which boys would be offered the vaccination and low risk perception of the virus.

CONCLUSION: Public campaigns regarding (the HPV) vaccination should improve (parental) awareness about the virus and the vaccination, and increase knowledge. Moreover, it should address concerns regarding vaccination and be transparent about decision making. For example, a rationale why HPV vaccination is needed for boys who turn 10 years and its advantage to reducing risks for boys to contract HPV related cancers should be provided.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1188
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • alphapapillomavirus
  • child
  • decision making
  • female
  • health knowledge, attitudes, practice
  • humans
  • male
  • papillomaviridae
  • papillomavirus infections/prevention & control
  • papillomavirus vaccines/adverse effects
  • parents
  • patient acceptance of health care
  • qualitative research
  • vaccination


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