A description of barriers and facilitators to childhood vaccinations in the military health system

J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2012 Dec;24(12):716-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2012.00780.x. Epub 2012 Sep 20.


Purpose: To perform a literature review of barriers to and facilitators of parents' decisions to have their children vaccinated. Both differences and similarities between the civilian sector and the military health system (MHS) were explored.

Data sources: Articles and documents were identified from the following databases: CINAHL, PubMed, Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC), ISI, and Google Scholar. Reference lists from articles were reviewed.

Conclusions: Common themes identified in the civilian sector and the MHS included an electronic registry, care access issues, provider characteristics, and child illness. Several themes served as a barrier in one system while being a facilitator in the other, such as provider characteristics. Literature addressing the MHS and factors affecting vaccine coverage is scant; however, a large disparity in vaccination coverage exists between the MHS and the civilian sector.

Implications: The theme of provider characteristics was seen as a barrier in both systems; a better understanding of this theme (i.e., provider effectiveness at interacting with parents) would benefit primary care practice. An electronic vaccine registry and targeted education and media campaign used to facilitate vaccinations in the MHS should be piloted in the civilian sector. Additionally, future studies should be performed on identified themes in the MHS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Military Personnel*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Vaccination*