Implications of the virginia human papillomavirus vaccine mandate for parental vaccine acceptance

Margaret Jane Pitts, Kimberly Adams Tufts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In 2009, Virginia became the first state in the United States to enact a school vaccine mandate for the human papillomavirus (HPV), putting it at the forefront of the national HPV vaccine mandate controversy. It is critical to explore the public response and sensemaking where the mandate has already been enacted. Thus, we conducted 8 focus group discussions among 33 Virginia parents to explore how they conceptualized the virus and vaccine and their responses to the mandate. Findings suggest that many parents are skeptical of and reluctant to follow a state-mandated vaccine requirement, choosing instead to opt out of the vaccine until they decide the time is right for their daughter and/or until they feel confident in their knowledge about the virus, vaccine, and the impetus for the mandate. Study results can inform future legislation among states considering HPV-related mandates and aid in the development of health-promotion materials within the context of a state mandate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-617
Number of pages13
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013


  • cancer
  • communication
  • community and public health
  • decision making
  • families
  • immunization
  • parenting
  • relationships, parent-child
  • sexuality / sexual health
  • women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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