Parental and provider preferences and concerns regarding text message reminder/recall for early childhood vaccinations

Prev Med. 2013 Aug;57(2):75-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.04.007. Epub 2013 Apr 23.


Objective: To assess parental, provider, and medical staff opinions about text message reminder/recall for early childhood vaccination.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted between January and March 2011 among 200 parents of 6-59 month-old children, 26 providers, and 20 medical staff at four academically-affiliated pediatric practices in New York City with text messaging experience. Survey questions addressed interest in, preferences for, and concerns/barriers related to vaccine-related text message reminder/recall.

Results: Parents were primarily Latino, Spanish-speaking, and had a high school education or less. Most parents owned a text message-enabled cell phone (89%) and used text messaging services (97%). While 84% had never received health-related text messages, 88% were comfortable receiving them. Nearly all parents reported interest in receiving reminder/recall text messages, many endorsing them over phone calls and/or letters. Preferences included personalization, interactivity, and multiple messages. While 25% of parents had no concerns, 38% were concerned about incorrect numbers; only 6% worried about cost. Providers and staff were also supportive of vaccine-related text messages. Their biggest concerns were correct cell phone numbers, appointment availability, and increased call volume.

Conclusion: Text message reminder/recall for early childhood vaccination was widely supported. Important barriers were identified that should be addressed to maximize their effectiveness.

Keywords: Children; Immunization; Reminder/recall; Text message.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Parental Consent / psychology*
  • Parental Consent / statistics & numerical data
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Pediatrics / standards
  • Reminder Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Text Messaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Vaccination*
  • Young Adult