THURSDAY, Nov. 1, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Parents’ concerns about sexuality and gender as reasons for lack of HPV vaccine initiation in their children decreased substantially from 2010 to 2016, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Anna Beavis, M.D., M.P.H., from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues used data from the National Immunization Survey — Teen to describe changes in parents’ reasons for lack of HPV vaccine initiation in American male and female adolescents from 2010 to 2016.

The researchers found that for parents of girls, safety concerns were the most common reasons for lack of HPV vaccination in both 2010 and 2016 (23 percent and 22 percent, respectively). During the study period, lack of necessity, knowledge, and recommendation remained stable as reasons given by parents of girls. Child’s lack of sexual activity as a reason not to vaccinate decreased from 19 percent to 10 percent among parents of girls. The most common reasons given by parents of boys included lack of necessity, recommendation, and knowledge. There were decreases in the percent of parents of boys citing child’s lack of sexual activity (16 percent versus 9 percent) and gender (13 percent versus 2 percent) as reasons. However, concerns about safety increased (5 percent versus 14 percent) in parents of boys.

“Vaccine messages should reflect current trends and focus on persistent concerns about knowledge, safety, and necessity rather than sexuality and gender,” conclude the authors.

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