HPV-vaccinens fald: Et issue for Kræftens Bekæmpelse

Frederik Pihl Andersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Among national and international health authorities the HPV-vaccine is recognized as being the first ever vaccination preventing cancer. In the first years following the HPV-vaccines introduction to the Danish Children’s Vaccination, the percentage of girls opting to receive the vaccine was steadily rising. In 2012, support for the HPV-vaccine reached its peak. From 2012 and onwards however, the support of the HPV-vaccine in Denmark decreased from 80% in 2012 to only 43% in 2017. This decrease only occurred in Denmark and happened irrespective of the continual support and recommendation from national and international health authorities and NGO’s. What seemed to cause this decrease was a negative media coverage of the HPV-vaccine claiming that it caused serious side effects. In Denmark, the Danish Cancer Society was the biggest NGO supporting the HPV-vaccine. The decrease in the support of the HPV-vaccine had negative ramifications for the Danish Cancer Society’s strategic ambition to prevent the onset of cancer expressed in the organization’s mission statement. Thusly, the decrease represents an issue for the Danish NGO.
In this thesis, I examine the decreasing support of the HPV-vaccine as an issue for Danish Cancer Society. In doing so, I prompt the three following research questions: 1) what effect did the framing of the HPV-vaccine have in terms of the creation and development of the HPV-issue? 2) What are the implications of the framing effects in terms of the Danish Cancer Society’s ability to manage the HPV-issue strategically? 3) Which implications does the Danish Cancer Society’s values and stakeholder approach have in terms of managing the HPV-issue strategically?
Theoretical framework
Strategic issue management acts as the overarching theoretical framework with a specific focus on issue analysis i.e. agenda setting and framing theory. A discussion of various stakeholder approaches and how these influence the organization’s ability to detect emerging issues is also included in the theoretical framework.
This thesis uses both quantitative and qualitative media content analysis to examine the framing of the HPV-vaccine and the effect this had on the HPV-issue. In addition, a semi-structured interview with the Danish Cancer Society’s head of communication is also included.
The quantitative Media Content Analysis produces results clearly indicates a close negative correlation between the relative salience of the “side-effect-frame” and the decrease of the support of the HPV-vaccine. The results from the qualitative media content demonstrates that while the coverage of the “side-effect-frame” became increasingly positive the support of the HPV-vaccine continued to decrease.
The human mind’s negativity bias made the “side-effect-frame” particularly powerful. This caused a nationwide rise in doubts regarding the safety of the HPV-vaccine, which resulted in the serious decrease of the support of the vaccine. The Danish Cancer Society was facing difficult circumstances in terms of managing the HPV-issue as the “side-effect-frame” became increasingly salient. The Danish Cancer Society’s narrow approach to stakeholder identification prevented the organization from detecting the HPV-issue before the “side-effect-frame” took hold of the media coverage.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages90