A Quick Reminder Could Boost Vaccination Rates

Using patient-reminding strategies like postcards and text messages helps to improve vaccination rates, according to an updated Cochrane review.

Although immunization rates have been on the rise, coverage levels have still not reached optimal goals.

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For their review, the researchers sought to compare the effectiveness of various patient reminder strategies in order to improve the receipt of immunizations.

They used data from 75 studies involving child, adolescent, and adult participants.

Overall, they found that patient reminder interventions, including telephone calls, postcards, text messages, and letters “probably improve the proportion of participants who receive immunization” (risk ratio [RR] 1.28).

High-certainty evidence supported the use of postcards, text messages, and automated phone calls for the improvement of vaccination rates, while moderate-certainty evidence supported phone calls and letters. Evidence was strongest for child and adolescent vaccinations.

“Patient reminder and recall systems, in primary care settings, are likely to be effective at improving the proportion of the target population who receive immunizations.”

—Michael Potts


Vann JCJ, Jacobson RM, Coyne-Beasley T, et al. Patient reminder and recall interventions to improve immunization rates [published online January 18, 2018]. Cochrane Library. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003941.pub3.