Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among women in Ghana. HPV vaccination is expected to be added to the national vaccination schedule in 2023. This study aimed to: i) describe intentions to participate in HPV vaccination and ii) explore factors associated with vaccination intentions among female senior high school students in Ghana.


Female students (aged 16–24) were recruited from 17 senior high schools in Ashanti Region. A cross-sectional anonymous self-report paper-and-pen survey assessed students’ HPV vaccination intentions using three items, and a range of correlates (individual, parent/family, social networks, service provision). Descriptive statistics were calculated for vaccination intentions, and correlates of intention scores (where higher scores indicate stronger intentions) were explored with a linear mixed-effect model.


Of 2400 participants, 64% (95%CI: 62%, 67%) agreed with at least one vaccination intention item. Uncertainty and disagreement with at least one item were endorsed by 51% (95%CI: 49%, 53%) and 44% (95%CI: 42%, 46%) of students, respectively. One-quarter of the students (25%, 95%CI: 23%, 26%) agreed, 12% (95% 11%, 13%) disagreed, and 11% (95%CI: 10%,13%) indicated uncertainty, on all three vaccination intention items. Vaccination uptake was 4.5%. Students were likely to have higher vaccination intention scores if: they had stronger beliefs about vaccine effectiveness; vaccination was recommended by parents, religious leaders and service providers, and vaccinated peers; and it was free. Students were likely to have lower vaccination intention scores if they perceived barriers to vaccination (e.g., side effects).


While two-thirds of students had some intention to participate in HPV vaccination, vaccine hesitancy (i.e., uncertainty or disagreement) was apparent. Alongside the rollout of a free national vaccination programme, messaging about vaccination benefits and effectiveness targeting students, as well as parents, religious leaders, service providers and peers would be beneficial given their influential role in students’ vaccination intentions.