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Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

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Behavioral Medicine | Health Communication | Health Services Administration | Preventive Medicine


Parental vaccine hesitancy is a growing concern. Less is known about provider or practice characteristics that encounter HPV-specific vaccine-hesitant parents, the providers' confidence in responding to HPV vaccine concerns, and the attitudes and use of vaccine dismissal policies (i.e., removing patients from the practice). North Texas providers completed an online survey. Dependent variables assessed: (1) percentage of HPV vaccine-hesitant parents encountered in practice defined as substantive, or high ( > /=11%, or among more than one out of ten adolescent patient encounters) versus low ( < /=10%) levels; (2) confidence in responding to 11 HPV vaccine concerns; (3) attitudes and use of vaccine dismissal policies. Chi-square and Fisher's exact tests were conducted. Among 156 providers, 29% reported high HPV vaccine hesitancy ( > /=11% of patient population). Overall, providers reported being "very confident" in addressing vaccine concerns (mean: 3.37 out of 4, SD: 0.57). Mean confidence scores were significantly higher for white (vs. non-white) providers and for pediatricians (vs. family practitioners). Providers were least confident in responding to parents' religious/personal beliefs (69%). Some providers (25%) agreed with policies that dismissed vaccine-hesitant parents after repeated counseling attempts. More providers used dismissal policies for childhood (19%) than adolescent (10%) immunizations. Provider communication training should include parental religious/personal beliefs to effectively address HPV vaccine hesitancy. Other regions should examine their HPV-specific vaccine hesitancy levels to understand how the use of dismissal policies might vary between adolescent and childhood immunizations.


Dismissal policies, HPV vaccine, Vaccine hesitancy

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© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

DOI of Published Version



Francis JKR, Rodriguez SA, Dorsey O, Blackwell JM, Balasubramanian BA, Kale N, Day P, Preston SM, Thompson EL, Pruitt SL, Tiro JA. Provider perspectives on communication and dismissal policies with HPV vaccine hesitant parents. Prev Med Rep. 2021 Sep 17;24:101562. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2021.101562. PMID: 34976628; PMCID: PMC8683895. Link to article on publisher's site

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Preventive medicine reports

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.