Vitamin A deficiency is highly prevalent in much of the developing world, where vaccination programs are of paramount importance to public health. However, the impact of vitamin A deficiency on the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of vaccines has not been defined previously. In this article, we show that the vitamin A metabolite retinoic acid is critical for trafficking of vaccine-elicited T lymphocytes to the gastrointestinal mucosa and for vaccine protective efficacy in mice. Moderate vitamin A deficiency abrogated Ag-specific T lymphocyte trafficking to the gastrointestinal tract, gastrointestinal cellular immune responses, and protection against a mucosal challenge following immunization with a recombinant adenovirus vaccine vector. Oral vitamin A supplementation as well as retinoic acid administration fully restored the mucosal immune responses and vaccine protective efficacy. These data suggest that oral vitamin A supplementation may be important for optimizing the success of vaccines against HIV-1 and other mucosal pathogens in the developing world, highlighting a critical relationship between host nutritional status and vaccine efficacy.