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National survey: Analysis of perceptions and attitudes regarding HPV vaccination in Romania

BUCHAREST, January 22, 2024. On the occasion of the European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (January 22-28), the project co-financed by the European Commission, #ReThinkHPVaccination, presents: The analysis of perceptions and attitudes towards HPV vaccination in Romania.

The study "Behaviour, Attitudes, and Perception Regarding HPV Vaccination in Romania" was conducted in November 2023 as part of the ReThinkHPVaccination project, co-funded by the European Commission and carried out by the Renașterea Foundation in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation in Medicine and the Eurocomunicare Association (as partners) and the European School of Oncology (as an associated partner). The main goal of the project, to support member states and countries in the process of expanding the European Union in rethinking and restarting HPV vaccination campaigns, is crucial for achieving the goals of the European plan to fight cancer and the Cancer Mission. HPV vaccination and cancer prevention are essential components of these strategies, and the ReThinkHPVaccination project significantly contributes to achieving these goals.

The sociological study, whose results we make public today, is quantitative, conducted through the sociological survey method based on an online questionnaire applied through the CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) data collection method, and coordinated by the Eurocomunicare Association. The sample consisted of 1110 people, nationally representative for the adult population of Romania over 18 years of age (inclusive). It is representative across socio-demographic categories (gender, age, occupation). The sample's margin of error is ±3% with a confidence level of 95%.

The main conclusions of the study are as follows:

  1. Awareness about HPV:
  • 79% of respondents have heard about HPV infection.
  • The socio-demographic profile indicates that most of those informed about HPV are women, young people (18-34 years old), and residents of urban areas.
  1. Perception regarding HPV vaccination:
  • Almost 6 out of 10 people consider the optimal age for vaccination to be between 10 and 15 years.
  • 67% of respondents did not receive vaccination recommendations from medical institutions, family, or close acquaintances.
  • 54% of respondents believe that vaccination should become mandatory to a large or very large extent.
  1. Safety of vaccination:
  • More than half of the respondents (57%) consider HPV vaccination to be safe or very safe.
  1. Vaccination rate and reasons for non-vaccination:
  • Only 7% of adults and 5% of their children are vaccinated against HPV.
  • About 9 out of 10 respondents claim they are not vaccinated against the HPV virus because it was not recommended to them.
  1. Perception of HPV and cervical cancer:
  • There is a strong association between HPV and cervical cancer in the perception of 7 out of 10 respondents.
  • More than half of the respondents believe that HPV vaccination prevents the occurrence of cervical cancer.
  1. Sources of medical information:
  • Doctors are considered the most trustworthy source of medical information.
  • Over a third of respondents (35%) discuss their health issues with their family doctor, and a quarter prefer to discuss such issues with their family.
  1. Perspectives on vaccination among parents:
  • 56% of parents consider HPV vaccination to be safe.
  • Only 1 in 10 parents with minor children in their care have vaccinated their children against HPV.
  1. Vaccinating children:
  • 92% of parents with at least one minor child in their care have vaccinated them with the vaccines from the mandatory schedule.
  • 46% of parents have vaccinated their child with the flu vaccine.

These conclusions underline the need for additional efforts to inform and raise public awareness about HPV vaccination and will serve as a basis for future awareness and promotion initiatives for HPV vaccination. The ReThinkHPVaccination project continues to work towards increasing acceptance of vaccination and reducing the risks associated with HPV infection.

"The statistics related to the incidence and mortality caused by cervical cancer in Romania are concerning. In this context, the ReThinkHPVaccination project represents a necessary response to the elimination of cervical cancer, in line with the objectives of the European Beating Cancer Plan. Through collaboration with partners InoMed and EuroCo, the project, which obtained co-financing from the European Commission, commits to changing mindsets and reducing inequalities regarding HPV vaccination in EU member states. It is fundamental in this endeavor that the project aims to evaluate society's perception and targeted interventions on the behavioral determinants of health. This comprehensive approach will contribute to identifying solutions to address the specific issues that have led to these low HPV vaccination rates and, consequently, the increased incidence of cervical cancer,"

Mihaela Geoană, President of the Renașterea Foundation

Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
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