Objective: To examine effectiveness of immunization recall in an urban pediatric teaching clinic and to identify barriers to recall effectiveness.
Design: Randomized, controlled trial. Children aged 5 to 17 months who were not up to date (UTD) with recommended immunizations were identified and assigned to intervention (n = 294) or control groups (n = 309). The intervention consisted of a mailed postcard and up to 4 telephone calls. Two months after intervention, UTD status, visit, and probable missed opportunity rates were assessed.
Results: Of the intervention group, 30% could not be reached. In 12-month-old children in the intervention group compared with those in the control group, there was a trend toward higher UTD rates (51% vs 39%, P =.07) and a higher proportion of UTD children receiving immunizations as opposed to getting more complete documentation (25% vs 10%, P =.005). Similar differences between intervention and control children were not seen in the 7-month and 19-month age categories. More children in the intervention group had a health maintenance visit (17% vs 11%, P =.03). Of children in the intervention group who were seen when not UTD, 17 of 24 (71%) of those seen for an illness visit and 5 of 24 (21%) of those seen for health maintenance probably had missed opportunities to be immunized.
Conclusions: Recall efforts were partially successful but were undermined by inability to reach the clinic population, poor documentation of immunizations, and missed opportunities.