Confidence at the expense of trust: The mass adoption of the Human Papillomavirus vaccine in Australia

Vikki Bunton, Michael Gilding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Australia leads the world in the mass adoption of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, a new frontier in mass vaccination programmes. This article reports on participatory workshops with the fi rst generation of young Australian women to participate in the HPV mass vaccination programme. In particular, it addresses the themes of trust and confi dence. A substantial literature highlights the growing realm of active trust at the expense of habitual confi dence in 'risk society'. Another line of inquiry highlights the preference of governments for policies designed to enhance confi dence rather than trust. This study fi nds that participants were guided by confi dence in their adoption of the HPV vaccine, at the expense of trust. Participants readily transferred their confi dence in the existing vaccination regime to the HPV mass vaccination programme, notwithstanding its novel features. Yet participants expressed growing misgivings about their informed consent and the 'marketing' of the vaccine in the course of workshops, refl ecting failure to achieve their active trust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-97
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Sociology Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research in this article was conducted on behalf of MiniFAB (Australia) Pty Ltd as part of the Smart Integrated Biodiagnostic Systems for Healthcare (SmartHEALTH) project. Research was funded under a collaborative agreement between Swinburne University of Technology (SUT) and the Victorian Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (DIIRD). The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors alone.


  • Cervical cancer
  • Compliance
  • Informed consent
  • Mass vaccination
  • Sociology
  • Trust


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