Factors influencing completion of multi-dose vaccine schedules in adolescents: a systematic review

BMC Public Health. 2016 Feb 19;16:172. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-2845-z.


Background: Completion of multiple dose vaccine schedules is crucial to ensure a protective immune response, and maximise vaccine cost-effectiveness. While barriers and facilitators to vaccine uptake have recently been reviewed, there is no comprehensive review of factors influencing subsequent adherence or completion, which is key to achieving vaccine effectiveness. This study identifies and summarises the literature on factors affecting completion of multi-dose vaccine schedules by adolescents.

Methods: Ten online databases and four websites were searched (February 2014). Studies with analysis of factors predicting completion of multi-dose vaccines were included. Study participants within 9-19 years of age were included in the review. The defined outcome was completion of the vaccine series within 1 year among those who received the first dose.

Results: Overall, 6159 abstracts were screened, and 502 full texts were reviewed. Sixty one studies were eligible for this review. All except two were set in high-income countries. Included studies evaluated human papillomavirus vaccine, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and varicella vaccines. Reported vaccine completion rates, among those who initiated vaccination, ranged from 27% to over 90%. Minority racial or ethnic groups and inadequate health insurance coverage were risk factors for low completion, irrespective of initiation rates. Parental healthcare seeking behaviour was positively associated with completion. Vaccine delivery in schools was associated with higher completion than delivery in the community or health facilities. Gender, prior healthcare use and socio-economic status rarely remained significant risks or protective factors in multivariate analysis.

Conclusions: Almost all studies investigating factors affecting completion have been carried out in developed countries and investigate a limited range of variables. Increased understanding of barriers to completion in adolescents will be invaluable to future new vaccine introductions and the further development of an adolescent health platform. PROSPERO reg# CRD42014006765.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Chickenpox Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Child
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hepatitis A Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Immunization Schedule*
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data
  • Insurance, Health
  • Male
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Risk Factors
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • Chickenpox Vaccine
  • Hepatitis A Vaccines
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines