To evaluate parental attitudes about adolescent vaccination as a function of vaccine characteristics, including whether the vaccine prevented a sexually transmitted infection (STI), and to explore possible sociodemographic predictors of acceptability of STI vaccines.
Participants were 278 parents who accompanied their children (69.1% female, aged 12-17 years) to appointments at medical clinics. By using computer-based questionnaires, parents rated 9 hypothetical vaccine scenarios, each of which was defined along 4 dimensions: mode of transmission (STI or non-STI), severity of infection (curable, chronic, or fatal), vaccine efficacy (50%, 70%, or 90%), and availability of behavioral methods for prevention (available or not available). Willingness by parents to vaccinate their adolescents under each vaccine scenario was assessed on a scale that ranged from 0 to 100. Conjoint analysis was used to determine the relative contribution of each dimension to the ratings.
The mean vaccine scenario rating was 81.3. Sexually transmitted infection vaccines (mean, 81.3) were not rated differently than non-STI vaccines (mean, 80.0). Conjoint analysis indicated that severity of infection and vaccine efficacy had the strongest influence on ratings, followed by availability of behavioral prevention. Mode of transmission had a negligible effect on ratings. Child age (P = .08) and sex (P = .77), parent age (P = .32) and education (P = .34), insurance status (P = .08), and data collection site (P = .48) were not significantly associated with STI vaccine acceptability.
Parents were accepting of the idea of vaccinating their adolescent children against STIs. The most salient issues were severity of infection and vaccine efficacy, not sexual transmissibility. Parents also favored vaccines for infections that had no method of behavioral prevention available.