Vaccine hesitancy among parents of adolescents and its association with vaccine uptake

James R. Roberts, David Thompson, Brianna Rogacki, Jessica J. Hale, Robert M. Jacobson, Douglas J. Opel, Paul M. Darden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background: Addressing parental vaccine hesitancy may increase adolescent vaccination acceptance. However, no validated measure exists to identify parents hesitant toward adolescent vaccines. Objective: To determine if a modified version of the Parent Attitudes about Childhood Vaccines (PACV) survey, a previously validated tool to identify parental hesitancy toward vaccines in infants, predicts adolescent vaccine uptake at office visits. Methods: We modified the PACV for use in the adolescent setting and distributed it to a convenience sample of parents of adolescents aged 11 to 17 presenting for care at a diverse group of six pediatric practices in Oklahoma and South Carolina. We determined the vaccination status of the parents' adolescents for 3 vaccines (Tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis [Tdap], meningococcal conjugate [MCV4], and human papillomavirus [HPV] vaccines). We used Fisher's exact tests to compare vaccination status with each survey item and with an overall general hesitancy scale that we constructed. Results: We analyzed 363 surveys. At the time of the visit, vaccination coverage was 84% for Tdap, 73% for MCV, and 45% for any dose of HPV. Thirty-nine percent of parents expressed concern about vaccine efficacy and 41% expressed concern about side effects. Forty-five percent of parents disagreed with the statement that "teens can get all of the vaccines that are due at a single visit." Two individual items were associated with not receiving a dose of HPV vaccine that was due. The overall modified PACV score failed to predict adolescent vaccine uptake at an office visit. Conclusion: Several individual items were associated with vaccine uptake. The cumulative modified PACV, a general measure of vaccine hesitancy, was not associated with vaccination status despite illuminating parental hesitancy. We need to better understand vaccine-specific concerns for the adolescent population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1748-1755
Number of pages8
Issue number14
StatePublished - Mar 30 2015


  • Adolescent
  • Hesitancy
  • Immunization
  • Parent
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Veterinary
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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