Send to

Choose Destination
Womens Health Issues. 2010 Nov-Dec;20(6):420-6. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2010.07.001.

Parents' opinions of mandatory human papillomavirus vaccination: does ethnicity matter?

Author information

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



To explore parents' opinions of school-entry requirements for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.


We interviewed parents of vaccine-eligible girls attending medical appointments in an urban academic medical center and an affiliated community health center. We used qualitative methods to explore parents' opinions about mandating routine childhood vaccines and HPV vaccine, as well as their feelings about vaccinating their own daughters against HPV.


We included 19 Caucasian, 18 African-American, 12 Afro-Caribbean, 3 African, and 21 Latino parents. Nearly all parents had allowed their children to receive routine vaccinations and expressed support for mandating these vaccines. Most parents also vaccinated their daughters against HPV: 100% of Caucasian parents, 90% of African-American parents, 73% of Afro-Caribbean/African parents, and 90% of Latino parents. Only 11% of Caucasian parents supported HPV vaccine mandates, however, compared with 78% of African-American, 60% of Afro-Caribbean/African, and 90% of Latino parents. Immigrants supported mandates more frequently than U.S.-born parents. Most Caucasian parents opposed mandatory HPV vaccination because they believed the HPV vaccine should be an individual decision because the virus can only be spread by sexual contact. African-American, Afro-Caribbean, African, and Latino parents generally viewed mandates as the most effective way to protect their daughters from cervical cancer. Latino parents gave special importance to protecting their daughters from sexually transmitted infections.


Parents from different racial and ethnic backgrounds expressed unique perspectives about mandatory HPV vaccination. Caucasians were less likely than parents of other races/ethnicities to support vaccine mandates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center