Influenza Vaccination Rates Moderately Increase With Text Message Reminders

HealthDay News — Short message service (SMS) reminders are a moderately effective way to increase the rate of influenza vaccination among high-risk patients, according to a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Annette K. Regan, PhD, MPH, from Curtin University in Western Australia, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial of SMS reminders for influenza vaccination. A total of 12,354 eligible high-risk patients who had a mobile telephone number on record at 10 practices were randomized to receive a vaccination reminder by SMS (intervention) or to receive no SMS (control). Vaccination data were extracted from the patients’ electronic medical records about 3 months after the SMS was sent.

The researchers found that 12% of the 6177 participants in the intervention group and 9% of the 6177 participants in the control group were vaccinated during the study period (relative increase attributable to SMS, 39%). One additional high-risk patient was immunized for every 29 SMSs sent, costing $3.48. The effect was greatest for children aged younger than 5 years, with parental receipt of an SMS reminder associated with a more than twofold increase in the likelihood of parents having their child vaccinated (relative risk, 2.43).

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“We found SMS reminders to be a modestly effective, low-cost means to increase seasonal influenza vaccine coverage among high-risk patients,” the authors write.


Regan AK, Bloomfield L, Peters I, Effler PV. Randomized controlled trial of text message reminders for increasing influenza vaccination. Ann Fam Med. 2017;15(6):507-514.