Mapping sociodemographic and geographical differences in human papillomavirus non-vaccination among young girls in Sweden

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Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination plays a key role in the prevention of cervical cancer. Yet, disparities in HPV vaccination in Sweden have persisted. Previous research on such disparities has typically focused on singular sociodemographic variables and measures of average risk. Using a multi-categorical approach and drawing on intersectionality theory, this study aimed to provide a more precise mapping of HPV non-vaccination among girls in different sociodemographic groups and geographical areas in Sweden during 2013–2020.

Using nationwide register data, we conducted a multi-categorical analysis of individual heterogeneity and discriminatory accuracy complemented by a multilevel geographical analysis. We mapped HPV non-vaccination prevalence across 54 strata defined by parental income, education and country of birth, and urban versus rural place of residence. We also disentangled municipal and regional influences on HPV non-vaccination.

HPV non-vaccination was more common in groups with a low income, a low education and an immigration background, whereas among those with an immigration background, the association between income, education and HPV non-vaccination was more complex. Geographical differences were found between municipalities. However, the discriminatory accuracy of the sociodemographic and geographical groups was weak, and 50% of the non-vaccination cases were observed in eight strata, of which some are among those with low risk.

Our findings underscore the importance of universal yet tailored approaches, including providing adequate information about HPV vaccination in Swedish and other languages, and of health-care professionals displaying sensitivity to patients’ and parents’ questions or needs.
TidskriftScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Tidigt onlinedatum2022 feb. 4
StatusPublished - 2023

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi
  • Genusstudier


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