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Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Using financial incentives to increase initial uptake and completion of HPV vaccinations: protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Eleni Mantzari, Florian Vogt and Theresa M Marteau*

Author Affiliations

Health Psychology Section, Department of Psychology, King’s College London, Guy’s Campus, 5th floor Bermondsey Wing, SE1 9RT, London, UK

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BMC Health Services Research 2012, 12:301  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-301

Published: 4 September 2012



HPV vaccination reduces the risk of cervical cancer. Uptake however, of the ‘catch-up’ campaign in England for 17-18 year old girls is below the 80% NHS target. The aim of this randomized controlled trial is to assess the impact of financial incentives on (a) the uptake and completion of an HPV vaccination programme and (b) the quality of the decisions to undertake the vaccination.


One thousand (n = 1000) 16-18 year-old girls will be invited to participate in an HPV vaccination programme: Five-hundred (n = 500) will have received a previous invitation to get vaccinated but will have failed to do so (previous non-attenders) and 500 will not have previously received an invitation (first-time invitees). Girls will be randomly selected from eligible participants who are registered with a GP in areas covered by the Birmingham East and North (BEN) and Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trusts. The two samples of girls will be randomised to receive either a standard vaccination invitation letter or an invitation letter including the offer of vouchers worth £45 for receiving three vaccinations. Girls will also complete a questionnaire to assess the quality of their decisions to be vaccinated. The primary outcome will be uptake of the 1st and 3rd vaccinations. The secondary outcome will be the quality of the decisions to undertake the vaccination, measured by assessing attitudes towards and knowledge of the HPV vaccination.


The key results will be: a) the effectiveness of financial incentives in increasing uptake of the 1st and 3rd vaccinations; b) the role of participants’ socio-economic status in the moderation of the impact of incentives on uptake; and c) the impact of incentives on the quality of decisions to undertake the HPV vaccinations.

HPV; Human papilloma virus; HPV vaccinations; Financial incentives; Vouchers