Investigating stakeholder attitudes and opinions on school-based human papillomavirus vaccination programs.

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BACKGROUND: In several countries worldwide, school-based human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programs have been successful; however, little research has explored US stakeholders' acceptance toward school-based HPV vaccination programs.

METHODS: A total of 13 focus groups and 12 key informant interviews (N = 117; 85% females; 66% racial/ethnic minority) were conducted with 5 groups of stakeholders: parents of adolescent girls, parents of adolescent boys, adolescent girls, middle school nurses, and middle school administrators throughout the 5 public health regions of New Mexico.

RESULTS: All groups of stakeholders lacked knowledge on HPV and HPV vaccines. Stakeholders were interested in--but apprehensive about--the benefits of HPV vaccination. Despite previous literature showing the benefits of using middle schools as an HPV vaccination site, stakeholders did not deem middle schools as a viable site for vaccination. Nurses reported that using the school as an HPV vaccination site had not occurred to them; parents and adolescents stated they were uncertain about using this type of program. School administrators indicated that they lacked implementation authority.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study uncovered barriers to using middle schools as a site of HPV vaccination. Resources should be directed toward increased support and education for middle school nurses who function as opinion leaders relevant to the uptake of HPV vaccination.