Impact of parental knowledge and beliefs on HPV vaccine hesitancy in Kenya—findings and implications

Kolek, Chester O. and Opanga, Sylvia A. and Okalebo, Faith and Birichi, Alfred and Kurdi, Amanj and Godman, Brian and Meyer, Johanna C. (2022) Impact of parental knowledge and beliefs on HPV vaccine hesitancy in Kenya—findings and implications. Vaccines, 10 (8). 1185. ISSN 2076-393X (

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Cervical cancer can be prevented by human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. However, parents can have concerns about vaccinating their daughters. Consequently, there is a need to identify prevalence and risk factors for HPV vaccine hesitancy among parents in Kenya. A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among parents with children aged 9–14 years attending a leading referral hospital in Kenya. Data on sociodemographic traits, HPV knowledge, beliefs and vaccine hesitancy were collected. Out of 195 participants, 183 (93.5%) were aged >30 years. Thirty-four (46.4%) of males and 39 (35.1%) of females did not know that the vaccine is given to prevent HPV infection. Encouragingly, levels of vaccine acceptance were high (90%) although one-third (37.9%) had a negative perception about the effectiveness of the vaccine, with vaccine hesitancy attributed to safety concerns (76%) and feelings that the child was too young (48%). Positive beliefs and knowledge of the vaccine were positively associated with parental willingness to vaccinate their children. Low levels of parenteral education and a younger age among mothers were negatively associated with willingness to vaccinate. Most parents (59%) would consult their daughters before vaccination, and 77% (n = 150) recommended early sex education. Despite low knowledge levels, there was high parental willingness to have their children vaccinated.