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HPV Vaccine Perceptions: Young Adults & TikTok Influencers

Male patient at risk of coronavirus infection, he vaccinating at home.
Engaging non-college 18- to 26-year-olds and TikTok influencers to explore perceptions of the HPV vaccine and health messaging
  • Client
    Merck
  • Dates
    February 2023 - Ongoing

Problem

The U.S is currently not on track to meet HPV vaccination targets. 

HPV vaccination rates declined dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Young adults ages 18-24 have been less likely to complete the series—and now, with the delays in vaccination that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, this group has less time to obtain catch-up vaccinations, which are recommended only through age 26. 

Young adults who are not yet vaccinated and not enrolled in college are lacking connections to traditional approaches aimed at college students. Additionally, early evidence indicates that decision-making roles about vaccination may be shifting, with young adults more likely than adolescents to seek health information online and to make their own health decisions, rather than parents.  

Solution

NORC is conducting focus groups and in-depth interviews.

It is critical to better understand non-college young adults’ perceptions of the HPV vaccine and explore the role of novel platforms and strategies to reach them. TikTok is emerging as a powerful channel for health information dissemination to this group, with some evidence suggesting it may be an ideal environment in which to disseminate HPV vaccination information.  

NORC has partnered with Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) to conduct five focus groups and nine in-depth interviews with TikTok influencers to understand: 

  • Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about the HPV vaccine, trusted sources for health information, and intentions to vaccinate against HPV among 18- to 26-year-old males and females not enrolled in higher education 
  • TikTok influencers’ perceptions of health information content on TikTok, interest and willingness to share health information (in particular about the HPV vaccine), and approaches to messaging health information on TikTok 

Result

Analysis of results is forthcoming

The team expects to begin analysis of the results in May 2023. At this time, they will look for findings regarding how to reach non-college young adults to promote HPV vaccination through TikTok.

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