To better understand how to achieve high uptake rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in Japan, we investigated acceptance of and attitudes towards HPV vaccination in 2192 mothers of girls aged 11-14 yrs. A school-based survey was conducted in five elementary and fourteen junior high schools in Sapporo, Japan. Responses from 862 participants were analyzed. Ninety-three percent of mothers would accept the vaccine for their daughter if free, but only 1.5% was willing to pay the minimum recommended price of ¥ 40,000. Vaccine acceptance was higher in mothers who had heard of HPV vaccine (adjusted odds ratio, aOR=2.58, confidence interval, CI=1.47-4.53), and who believed susceptibility to (aOR=2.30, CI=1.34-3.92) and severity of (aOR=3.73, CI=1.41-9.88) HPV to be high. Recommendations from a doctor (aOR=12.60, CI=7.06-21.48) and local health board (aOR=27.80, CI=13.88-55.86) were also positively associated with increased HPV vaccine acceptance. Concerns about side effects of both the HPV vaccine (aOR=0.03, CI=0.01-0.08) and routine childhood vaccines in general (aOR=0.11, CI=0.02-0.78) emerged as barriers to vaccination. Not participating in routine cervical screening also emerged as a deterrent (aOR=0.49, CI=0.27-0.91). While most mothers (66.8%) agreed that 10-14 yr was an appropriate age for vaccination, a further 30.6% believed >15 yr to be more appropriate. In conclusion, attitudes of Japanese mothers toward HPV vaccination are encouraging. While lower vaccine acceptance in mothers who do not undergo regular cervical screening needs further investigation, this study indicates that high uptake may be possible in a publically funded HPV vaccination program if physicians actively address safety concerns and justify why the vaccine is needed at a particular age.
The authors wish to thank all the schools and parents who participated in the study. This study was funded by a Grant-In-Aid from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and in part by a Grant-in-Aid from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
- Cervical cancer