Jun 29, 2021 - Health

Misinformation on adverse effects a factor in HPV vaccine refusal

More than 25% of parents in 2019 who refused the human papillomavirus vaccine for their child cited concerns of safety or adverse effects, a study in JAMA Pediatrics shows.

Why it matters: This type of refusal greatly increased from 5% in 2008, showing "disinformation campaigns aimed at hampering vaccine trust are thriving," the authors write.

  • HPV vaccinations, which are given in adolescents to protect against the types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer and genital warts, have gradually increased since the mid 2000s. But recently, rates have been "suboptimal," and stagnant, per the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The big picture: The pandemic has exposed the corresponding challenges in assuring public confidence in the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

State of play: Higher rates of safety concerns or adverse effects from 2008 to 2019 were reported especially among non-Hispanic white parents.

  • However, after 2015, the rate of refusal due to concerns of safety or adverse effects increased by 3.5% each year, driven by mothers and mothers with college degrees.

What's next: Misinformation can be combatted if public health resources partner with social media platforms, the report says, adding physicians should be addressing parent hesitancy during appointments.

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