Perceptions of human papillomavirus vaccination of adolescent schoolgirls in western Uganda and their implications for acceptability of HPV vaccination: a qualitative study

3 Sep, 2017
A K Turiho, E S Okello, W W Muhwezi, and A R Katahoire, Source: BMC Research Notes


Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination has been perceived in diverse ways some of which encourage its uptake while others could potentially deter its acceptability. This study explored community member’s perceptions about HPV vaccination in Ibanda district and the implications of the perceptions for acceptability of HPV vaccination. The study was conducted following initial vaccination of adolescent schoolgirls in the district between 2008 and 2011.


This qualitative study employed focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews (KIIs). FGDs were conducted with schoolgirls and parents/guardians and KIIs were conducted with school teachers, health workers and community leaders. Transcripts from the FGDs and KIIs were coded and analyzed thematically using ATLAS.ti (v. 6).


The HPV vaccination was understood to safely prevent cervical cancer, which was perceived to be a severe incurable disease. Vaccinations were perceived as protection against diseases like measles and polio that were known to kill children. These were major motivations for girls’ and parents’ acceptance of HPV vaccination. Parents’ increased awareness that HPV is sexually transmitted encouraged their support for vaccination of their adolescent daughters against HPV. There were reports however of some initial fears and misconceptions about HPV vaccination especially during its introduction. These initially discouraged some parents and girls but over the years with no major side effects reported, girls reported that they were willing to recommend the vaccination to others and parents also reported their willingness to get their daughters vaccinated without fear. Health workers and teachers interviewed however explained that, some concerns stilled lingered in the communities.


The perceived benefits and safety of HPV vaccination enhanced girls’ and parents’ acceptability of HPV vaccination. The initial rumors, fears and concerns about HPV vaccination that reportedly discouraged some girls and parents, seemed to have waned with time giving way to more favourable perceptions regarding HPV vaccination although the study still found that a few concerns still lingered on and these have implications for HPV vaccination acceptability.

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 3rd, 2017 at 10:30 am and is filed under Literature.

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