Easing Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Hesitancy: A Communication Experiment With U.S. Parents

Parth D. Shah, William A. Calo, Melissa B. Gilkey, Marjorie A. Margolis, Susan Alton Dailey, Karen G. Todd, Noel T. Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction: The Announcement Approach using presumptive announcements increases human papillomavirus vaccine uptake. This study seeks to understand the impact of the final Announcement Approach steps—easing parents’ vaccine concerns and then encouraging them to get human papillomavirus vaccine for their children—on parents’ human papillomavirus vaccine hesitancy and confidence in the vaccine's benefits. Methods: In 2017–2018, investigators recruited an online national sample of 1,196 U.S. parents of children aged 9–17 years who had not yet completed the human papillomavirus vaccine series. Following the steps of the Announcement Approach, participants viewed brief videos of a pediatrician announcing that a child was due for human papillomavirus vaccine (shown to all the parents). In the 2 × 2 experiment, parents saw (1) a video of the pediatrician attempting to ease a concern that the parent had raised earlier in the survey (Ease video), (2) a video of the pediatrician encouraging the parent to get their child vaccinated (Encourage video), (3) both videos, or (4) neither of the videos. Data analysis was conducted in spring 2020. Results: Seeing the Ease video message led to lower human papillomavirus vaccine hesitancy than not seeing it (mean=2.71, SD=1.29 vs mean=2.97, SD=1.33; p<0.001). The beneficial impact of easing concerns on lower vaccine hesitancy was explained by higher confidence (p<0.05). By contrast, the Encourage video had no impact on human papillomavirus vaccine hesitancy or confidence. Conclusions: Addressing parents’ concerns can decrease human papillomavirus vaccine hesitancy and increase confidence. On the basis of these findings, the Announcement Approach retained its emphasis on announcing that children are due for vaccination and easing parent concerns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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