Reasons for and insights about HPV vaccination refusal among ultra-Orthodox Jewish mothers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) is a pivotal tool for preventing a significant cause of cervical cancer. One particular culturally recognized context associated with negative attitudes toward the HPV vaccine is the religiousness of parents. However, relatively speaking, there remains a scarcity of studies that have focused specifically on religious groups, especially non-Christian groups. Purpose: To better understand the basis for members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community to object to the HPV vaccine and how such objections can and cannot be reduced, thereby improving cultural competence—namely, the cultural understanding and ethical addressing of HPV vaccination refusal. Methods: This qualitative study conducted semi-structured interviews with ten Israeli ultra-Orthodox mothers who are opposed to administering the HPV vaccine to their daughters. The content analysis addressed these results and extracted the major issues arising from these particular interviews. Results: Four main novel insights were found pertaining to the negative stance toward HPV vaccination among mothers in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community: (a) lack of knowledge about the HPV vaccine is not part of the reasoning against it; (b) rabbinical authority might have a lesser influence than expected for the moderation of HPV vaccine refusal; (c) complicated viewpoints regarding childhood vaccination may be the larger non-moderating context for HPV vaccination refusal; and (d) cultural competence is important for the ability to change the negative attitudes toward HPV vaccination. Conclusions: The study may improve cultural competence regarding HPV vaccination and contribute to decreasing objections to the HPV vaccine in ultra-Orthodox communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-311
Number of pages12
JournalDeveloping World Bioethics
Issue number4
Early online date6 Oct 2022
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • HPV vaccine
  • childhood vaccines
  • ultra-Orthodox
  • vaccine refusal

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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