Purpose: Exposure to different types of vaccine information in social media can result in parents making disparate vaccine decisions, including not following national guidelines for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. We sought to characterize parents’ exposure to and engagement with information about HPV vaccination in social media, and the associations between exposure to such information and vaccine decisions for their adolescent children. Methods: In 2019, we conducted a web-based survey with a national sample of 1073 parents of adolescents who use social media. The survey assessed whether parents have seen information in favor, against, or mixed about HPV vaccination. Multivariable logistic regressions assessed correlates of vaccine decisions, including HPV vaccine initiation, delay, and refusal. Results: Sixty-one percent of parents reported that their children have initiated HPV vaccination. Over one-third of parents (37%) reported seeing HPV vaccine information on social media, which was either in favor (20%), against (5%), or a mix (12%). Parents exposed to information in favor were more likely than those who saw no information to have initiated HPV vaccination (OR = 1.74, 95% CI:1.24, 2.44). Parents exposed to information against vaccination were more likely to have delayed (OR = 3.29, 95% CI:1.66, 6.51) or refused (OR = 4.72, 95% CI:2.35, 9.50) HPV vaccination. Exposure to mixed information was also significantly associated with vaccine delay and refusal. Discussion: Our findings suggest that the type of information seen on social media regarding HPV vaccination may influence the decisions parents make about vaccinating their children. Efforts should be sought to increase online information in favor of HPV vaccination and combat vaccine misinformation in social media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCancer Control
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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