Increasing parental vaccine confidence and young people’s access to the universal human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme: a co-design study.


National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB).

What is the problem?

Infection with HPV can lead to cancers affecting both men and women. The HPV vaccination programme is offered to young people when they are in Year 8 at school. Some young people may not receive the vaccine because their consent form was not returned. Other parents may refuse the HPV vaccine for their adolescent child because they think the vaccine is unsafe or unnecessary. Improving the way parents find out about the HPV vaccine and places to get the vaccine may help more young people receive immunisation. However, there is currently little evidence to tell us the best way to do this.

What is the aim of the research?

To design with parents an intervention that increases parents’ confidence in vaccination and helps young people receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine more easily.

How will this be achieved?

There are two parts to the proposed research. In the first part, we will interview parents who did not provide consent for their adolescent child to have the HPV vaccine and key healthcare professionals. During the interview, we will ask parents why their adolescent child was not vaccinated, how we can improve the way parents find out about the HPV vaccine, and ways to make it easier for their adolescent children to have the HPV vaccine. Then we will design a plan for an intervention according to what they say. In the second part of the study, new communication materials in different languages will be co-designed jointly with a creative designer and parents who did not provide consent for their adolescent children. A series of workshops will be organised to ask for feedback and make changes to the intervention plan and communication materials according to what they say. These can be tested in a future study to see if it increases parents’ vaccine confidence and helps more young people receive the HPV vaccine.

We will work with groups of parents and young people to decide the best way to share our study findings. We will summarise the results in different languages to share with parents who took part in the study. We will also share our findings with other researchers and healthcare professionals through conferences and publications in scientific journals.

Who is leading the research?

Dr Harriet Fisher, Research Fellow, University of Bristol.

Further information:

For more information or to get involved in this project, please contact

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.