Young people in a low-income, urban population had an
increased rate of influenza vaccinations when they received text-message
reminders vs. those assigned to usual-care alone.
Text messaging is a novel approach to increase
influenza vaccine coverage, the researchers wrote. It can be used
for large populations at low cost, especially when linked to immunization
registries and electronic health record systems. Families appear to be
interested in text-message vaccine reminders, particularly those with unlimited
The randomized controlled trial included 9,213 children
and adolescents aged 6 months to 18 years who received care during the
2010-2011 influenza season at four community-based clinics. Among these
children, 7,574 had not received the influenza vaccine before the intervention
Parents of the children assigned to receive the
intervention received up to five weekly immunization-registry-linked text
messages. The messages provided educational information and instructions. Both
groups received usual care, which included an automated telephone reminder and
access to informational fliers.
By March 31, 2011, a higher number of children and
adolescents in the intervention group received the influenza vaccine: 43.6% vs.
39.9% of those in the usual-care group. At the fall review date, 27.1% of
children in the intervention group received the vaccine compared with 22.8% of
the usual-care group.
Immunization registry-linked text messaging with
education-related messages increased influenza vaccination coverage compared
with usual care in traditionally hard-to-reach, low-income, urban, minority
population, the researchers wrote. Underlying vaccination coverage
overall remained low, as they do nationally, and further studies are
recommended to identify ways to maximize the potential of text messaging.
- Stockwell MS. JAMA. 2012;307:1702-1708.
- The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.