Parental consent for HPV vaccine should not be waived, poll says

July 18, 2012, University of Michigan Health System

Most U.S. adults support laws that allow teens to get medical care for sexually transmitted infections without parental consent. But when asked about the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), most adults want parents to have the final say on whether their teen or pre-teen gets the shots.

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital on Children's Health recently asked a national sample of adults about allowing adolescents age 12 to 17 years old to receive the HPV vaccinations without parental consent.

Only 45 percent of those polled would support state laws allowing the HPV vaccination without parental consent.

"But in contrast, 57 percent say they support teens being able to get medical care for prevention of sexually transmitted infections and 55 percent for treatment, all without parental consent," says Sarah Clark, M.P.H., Associate Director of the Child and Research (CHEAR) Unit at the University of Michigan and Associate Director of the National Poll on Children's Health.

In the short term, the protects against , one of the most common types of sexually transmitted infection. In the long term, the vaccine prevents development of in females and some head and neck cancers in men.

Routine HPV vaccination is recommended for at 11-12 years of age. The vaccine is most effective if administered before the onset of sexual activity.

"That presents a challenge. Parents aren't thinking their 11 or 12 year-old child is ready for sexual activity at that age," Clark says. "Many parents ask to delay the vaccine until their child is a little older. But older teens go to the doctor much less than younger adolescents, and often they go without a parent."

have considered pushing laws that would drop the need for parental consent, in order to boost HPV .

"But in this poll, most agreed they are reluctant to support dropping parental consent, even though 74 percent agreed that getting vaccines is a good way to protect adolescents from disease," Clark says.

Those who did not support dropping parental consent were asked about their reasons. The most common reason, cited by 86 percent, was that HPV should be a parent's decision; 43 percent cited the risk of side effects of the vaccine. About 40 percent said they have moral or ethical concerns about the vaccine.

The support for state laws that would allow HPV vaccination without parental consent was not different between parents and non-parents.

"These poll results show the majority of adults view HPV vaccination as distinct from sexually transmitted infection prevention and are reluctant to support taking away parental consent," Clark says.

"Policymakers and public health officials interested in changing parental consent rules should consider this data and provide education to ensure adults understand the importance of HPV vaccination as a form of prevention against sexually transmitted infections."

Explore further: Lack of clarity about HPV vaccine and the need for cervical cancer screening

Related Stories

Lack of clarity about HPV vaccine and the need for cervical cancer screening

July 7, 2011
The research will be presented today at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Academic Primary Care, hosted this year by the Academic Unit of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol.

Study shows girls believe HPV vaccine protects from other STDs

January 6, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine shows that almost a quarter of girls surveyed believe that the HPV vaccine will also help prevent other STDs. This new information ...

For protection against cancers, both boys and girls benefit from getting HPV vaccine

December 12, 2011
On Oct. 25, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that all adolescent boys be immunized against the human papilloma virus, which causes several types of cancer in both sexes. We strongly support ...

US recommends routine HPV vaccination for boys

February 3, 2012
US health authorities on Friday urged all boys age 11-12 to get a routine vaccination against the most common sexually transmitted disease, human papillomavirus, or HPV.

Recommended for you

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GldfrdEng
not rated yet Jul 18, 2012
I don't understand the "moral" objections. Protecting your child (& eventually others) before any possibility of sexual activity from a killer disease is the moral choice.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.