National decision-making on adopting new vaccines: a systematic review

Health Policy Plan. 2012 May;27 Suppl 2:ii62-76. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czr049. Epub 2011 Jul 6.


In recent years numerous new vaccines have been developed, offering potential reductions in the morbidity and mortality caused by a range of diseases. This has led to increased interest in decision-making about the adoption of new vaccines into national immunization programmes. This paper aims to systematically review the literature on national decision-making around the adoption of new vaccines. A thematic framework was developed inductively through analysis of the vaccine adoption decision-making frameworks included in the review. This thematic framework was then applied to the remaining studies included in the review. In total, 85 articles were included in the review: 39 articles describing examples of vaccine adoption decision-making, 26 presenting vaccine decision-making frameworks, 21 empirical articles of decision-making relating to vaccine adoption and 19 theoretical essays. An analysis of vaccine adoption decision-making frameworks identified nine broad categories of criteria: the importance of the health problem; vaccine characteristics; immunization programme considerations; acceptability; accessibility, equity and ethics; financial/economic issues; impact; alternative interventions and the decision-making process. The quality of the empirical studies was varied. Although some of the issues included in the frameworks were similar to those considered in the studies, there were also some notable differences. On the whole, the frameworks were more comprehensive than the studies, including a greater range of criteria. The existing literature provides a good foundation for further research into vaccine adoption decision-making. The current review, in pulling together what is already known and by identifying strengths, weaknesses and gaps in the existing evidence base, aims to encourage a more focused and rigorous approach to the topic in future. This could help to identify the most appropriate ways to develop vaccine adoption decision-making, so as to improve decisions and, ultimately, health outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • Health Priorities
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / organization & administration*
  • Policy Making*
  • Vaccines / therapeutic use*


  • Vaccines