Rural Caregivers’ Willingness for Community Pharmacists to Administer the HPV Vaccine to Their Age-Eligible Children


Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination uptake varies by geographic regions with rural, often medically underserved areas, lagging behind more urban regions in terms of vaccine initiation and completion. In these regions, pharmacies may serve as an additional location for HPV vaccine administration. Little is known about rural caregivers’ willingness to have their HPV vaccine age-eligible children obtain this vaccine from their local pharmacist. First and second authors conducted 26 in-depth interviews with caregivers of HPV vaccine age-eligible children living in rural regions of a southwestern state to explore their perceptions of the HPV vaccine and their willingness for pharmacist-administered HPV vaccination. They analyzed interview data using an inductive qualitative content analyses approach. The majority of caregivers were unaware that pharmacists could offer adolescent vaccines. However, most were willing to allow their children to receive the vaccine from this non-traditional source. Comments related to obtaining vaccinations from pharmacists related mostly to concerns about proper training and their certification to vaccinate against HPV. Caregivers believed that having a pharmacist administer the HPV vaccine would not affect their relationship with their primary care provider. Caregivers preferred print health education resources and were interested in also receiving health information via social media to learn more about the HPV vaccine and pharmacists’ role in HPV vaccine administration. Pharmacies may serve as an additional site to increase HPV vaccine initiation and completion. Rural regions need additional health information about the HPV vaccine and pharmacists’ abilities to administer this cancer prevention resource.

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Correspondence to Alexis M. Koskan.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee (Arizona State University Institutional Review Board, STUDY00006995) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Koskan, A.M., Dominick, L.N. & Helitzer, D.L. Rural Caregivers’ Willingness for Community Pharmacists to Administer the HPV Vaccine to Their Age-Eligible Children. J Canc Educ 36, 189–198 (2021).

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  • Human papillomavirus
  • HPV vaccine
  • Primary care
  • Pharmacy
  • Rural