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Does reminding people to have vaccinations increase the number of people who receive vaccinations?

Jacobson Vann JC, Szilagyi P
Published Online: 
21 January 2009

Increasing the number of people who are vaccinated could lower death and disease rates throughout the world. Many strategies to increase vaccinations have been used. One way is to remind people to receive their vaccinations. This review of 47 studies evaluated whether reminding people worked.

This review found that reminding people to have vaccinations increased the number of people vaccinated, whether the people were due or overdue for vaccinations. The increases were observed in both children and adults for all types of vaccines, but not among urban adolescents in one study. Reminding people over the telephone, sending a letter or postcard, or speaking to them in person increased vaccinations. Providing numerous reminders was more effective than single reminders. Reminding people over the telephone was more effective than postcard or letter reminders, but reminders over the telephone may be expensive compared with alternative approaches. Reminders also worked whether it was from a private doctor's office, a medical center, or a public health department clinic. The studies in this review were from developed countries; and, it is therefore not clear whether reminders to patients would work in low- and middle-income countries.

This record should be cited as: 
Jacobson Vann JC, Szilagyi P. Patient reminder and recall systems to improve immunization rates. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD003941. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003941.pub2
Assessed as up to date: 
20 February 2008