Public wants to keep parental consent requirement for HPV vaccine

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine prevents the development of cervical cancer, anal cancer, and genital warts. But in order to be most effective, it’s recommended that adolescents receive the vaccine before they become sexually active. To help boost adolescent HPV vaccination, some have recommended allowing adolescents to get the vaccine without their parent’s consent.

We asked adults across the country what they think about state laws that allow adolescents age 12-17 to get medical care without the consent of a parent or guardian. While the majority of adults said they support teens receiving medical care for the treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), just 45 percent would support state laws allowing HPV vaccination without parental consent.

Some of the reasons adults were not in favor of waiving the parental consent for HPV vaccination included:

  • HPV vaccination should be a parent’s decision (86%)
  • Risk of side effects with HPV vaccine (43%)
  • Moral or ethical concerns about HPV vaccine (40%)
  • Have read or heard problems with HPV vaccine (39%)
  • Adolescents age 12-17 are too young to receive HPV vaccine (36%)
  • Do not support any state laws for vaccination (36%)
  • HPV vaccines are not effective (24%)
  • Cost of HPV vaccine is too high (22%)

Based on this information, policymakers and public health officials considering ways to improve HPV vaccination rates should proceed with caution when pursuing laws to allow minors to be vaccinated without their parent’s consent.

Video: NPCH Associate Director Sarah Clark talks about HPV vaccination for adolescents