This study explored HPV and attitudes towards HPV vaccination among girls who were part of the ‘catch-up’ vaccination program. Interviews were carried out with five girls who had received the HPV vaccine and five girls who had opted not to accept the HPV vaccine. Interviews lasted approximately 25 minutes, were recorded and transcribed verbatim. The data were analyzed qualitatively using framework analysis.

Most participant girls were aware of the information that HPV is sexually transmitted, but beyond this had limited understanding of HPV and HPV vaccination and expressed a desire for further information. Girls were uncertain about the need for the vaccine in terms of perceived risk and its novelty. Some had concerns about the vaccine’s efficacy and safety, while others were mistrusting the information provided. Being embarrassed about discussing the vaccine with parents and practical barriers to vaccination were also discussed.

The study concluded that the understanding of HPV was low, even though participants offered the vaccine. School-based interventions might be a useful supplement to leaflets and should focus on the aspect of improving knowledge of HPV and awareness of the purpose of HPV vaccination.