Perceptions of politicization and HPV vaccine policy support

L. Saulsberry, Erika Franklin Fowler, Rebekah H Nagler, Sarah E Gollust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Since its FDA approval in 2006, the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been politically-charged, given its association with sexual health among young women and its history of controversial, and largely unsuccessful, legislative mandates. The extent to which perceived politicization is related to public support for the vaccine's use, however, is not clear. We sought to examine the relationship between public perceptions of politicization of the HPV vaccine and public support for HPV vaccine policies. Methods: We fielded a survey from May-June 2016 using a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults (18–59 years). Among respondents aware of the HPV vaccine (n = 290), we predict support for HPV vaccine policies based on respondents’ perceptions of three characteristics of the vaccine's portrayal in public discourse: degree of controversy, certainty of the scientific evidence supporting the vaccine's use, and frequency with which the vaccine appears in political discussion. Results: Respondents who perceived greater certainty about the scientific evidence for the HPV vaccine were more supportive of HPV vaccine policies (p < 0.0001) than respondents who perceived the scientific evidence to be uncertain, after adjusting for respondents’ characteristics, including demographics and partisanship. Conclusions: Public perceptions of the HPV vaccine's politicization, particularly the portrayal of scientific evidence, are associated with receptivity to legislative mandates. Policy implications: How the certainty of a body of evidence gets communicated to the public may influence the policy process for a critical cancer prevention intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5121-5128
Number of pages8
JournalVaccine
Volume37
Issue number35
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 14 2019

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Papillomavirus Vaccines
Papillomaviridae
vaccines
Vaccines
Reproductive Health
Surveys and Questionnaires
sociodemographic characteristics
Demography

Keywords

  • Cancer prevention
  • HPV vaccine
  • Health policy
  • Legislation
  • Politics
  • Public health

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Cite this

Perceptions of politicization and HPV vaccine policy support. / Saulsberry, L.; Fowler, Erika Franklin; Nagler, Rebekah H; Gollust, Sarah E.

In: Vaccine, Vol. 37, No. 35, 14.08.2019, p. 5121-5128.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Saulsberry, L. ; Fowler, Erika Franklin ; Nagler, Rebekah H ; Gollust, Sarah E. / Perceptions of politicization and HPV vaccine policy support. In: Vaccine. 2019 ; Vol. 37, No. 35. pp. 5121-5128.
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