Background: Despite the introduction of Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in national immunization programs (NIPs), vaccination rates in most countries remain relatively low. An understanding of the reasons underlying decisions about whether to vaccinate is essential in order to promote wider spread of HPV vaccination. This is particularly important in relation to policies seeking to address shortfalls in current HPV campaigns. The aim of this study was to explore prevailing perspectives concerning HPV vaccination among girls, boys, and parents, and so to identify potential determinants of HPV vaccination decisions in these groups. Method: Perspectives were explored using Q-methodology. Forty-seven girls, 39 boys, and 107 parents in the Netherlands were asked to rank a comprehensive set of 35 statements, assembled based on the health belief model (HBM), according to their agreement with them. By-person factor analysis was used to identify common patterns in these rankings, which were interpreted as perspectives on HPV vaccination. These perspectives were further interpreted and described using data collected with interviews and open-ended questions. Results: The analysis revealed four perspectives: "prevention is better than cure," "fear of unknown side effects," "lack of information and awareness," and "my body, my choice." The first two perspectives and corresponding determinants of HPV vaccination decisions were coherent and distinct; the third and fourth perspectives were more ambiguous and, to some extent, incoherent, involving doubt and lack of awareness and information (perspective 3), and overconfidence (perspective 4). Conclusions: Given the aim of publically funded vaccination programs to minimize the spread of HPV infection and HPV-related disease and the concerns about current uptake levels, our results indicate that focus should be placed on increasing awareness and knowledge, in particular among those in a modifiable phase.

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Keywords Boys, Girls, Health belief model, Human papillomavirus, Parents, Perspective, Q-methodology, Vaccination
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Journal BMC Public Health
Patty, N.J.S. (Nathalie J. S.), van Dijk, H.M, Wallenburg, I, Bal, R.A, Helmerhorst, T.J.M, Van Exel, J. (Job), & Cramm, J.M. (2017). To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Perspectives on HPV vaccination among girls, boys, and parents in the Netherlands: A Q-methodological study. BMC Public Health, 17(1). doi:10.1186/s12889-017-4879-2