Healthcare providers’ practice protocols, strategies, and needed tools to address parental HPV vaccine hesitancy: An exploratory study

Jennifer Cunningham-Erves, Pamela C. Hull, Consuelo H. Wilkins, Kathryn M. Edwards, Megan Davis, Jessica Jones, Jenee Graham, Abiola Adekunle, Amanda F. Dempsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Parental hesitancy related to human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines has increased during the pandemic, and there is a call to action by the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable to improve vaccination rates. While there are evidence-based strategies available to address parental hesitancy, there are few clear guidelines on how to engage parents to build confidence in the HPV vaccine within the clinical settings. The purpose of this investigation is to explore practice protocols, individual provider strategies, and perceived tools needed to address HPV vaccine hesitant parents from the perspective of providers during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Fifteen healthcare providers participated in qualitative, semi-structured interviews between May 2021 and March 2022. An inductive, qualitative content analysis approach was used to analyze the data. Five themes were described: 1) Provider experiences engaging with HPV vaccine hesitant parents; 2) Existing protocols in the clinics to address HPV vaccine hesitant parents; 3) Strategies used by providers to address parental HPV vaccine hesitancy; 4) Sample message content used by providers to address parental HPV vaccine concerns; and 5) Perceived strategies and tools needed to address parental vaccine hesitancy. Recommendations to address parental hesitancy include recommending HPV vaccinationat 9 years, using a strong recommendation and continued discussion, applying evidence-based approaches and/or promising strategies, linking parents to credible outside sources, and ongoing follow-up if delayed or declined. These findings can be used by researchers and clinicians to improve strategies and messages to inform the development of a protocol to standardize encounters and communication for patient-parent-provider encounters that can influence parental decision-making around HPV vaccine uptake.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2136862
JournalHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • HPV
  • Human papillomavirus
  • adolescent health/medicine
  • healthcare providers
  • hesitancy
  • immunization
  • protocol
  • qualitative
  • vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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