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Br J Cancer. 2009 Nov 3;101(9):1502-4. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605362. Epub 2009 Oct 6.

A survey of adolescent experiences of human papillomavirus vaccination in the Manchester study.

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Academic Unit of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Cancer and Imaging Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.



There is little information on girls' experiences of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in the prevention of cervical cancer. We investigated the views of adolescent girls who had been offered the vaccine as part of a feasibility study conducted in Manchester.


All 12 to 13-year-old girls in two primary care trusts were offered three doses of Cervarix (manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline). A letter was sent to 1084 parents who had consented to research follow-up. It requested parents to pass a questionnaire regarding HPV vaccination to their daughters to complete and post back in a prepaid envelope.


A total of 553 girls completed the questionnaire. Altogether, 77% (422) had shared with their parents in the vaccine decision. In all, 42% (n=13) of girls, whose parents refused vaccination, stated that they wanted the vaccine, whereas 10% (50) of those who were vaccinated did not want the vaccine. Although 54% (277) said the vaccine was very important to them, 39% (153) of vaccinated girls thought they might not recommend it to others. The vaccine was perceived to be painful and there were exaggerated rumours of serious adverse events and needle scares. A total of 79% (420) of girls agreed with a statement that vaccination reminded them of the risks of sexual contact, but 14% (73) agreed they might take more sexual risks because they had been vaccinated.


Girls of this age form their own views on HPV vaccination but parental support for vaccination remains important, especially for completing the three doses. By discussing the vaccine, parents can encourage their daughters to determine the importance and implications of HPV vaccination.

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