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Increasing Appropriate Vaccination: Client Reminder and Recall Systems

Client reminder and recall interventions involve reminding members of a target population that vaccinations are due (reminders) or late (recall). Reminders and recalls differ in content and are delivered by various methods—telephone, letter, postcard, or other. Most reminder systems involve a specific notification for a specific client, and may be accompanied by educational messages regarding the importance of immunization for the targeted vaccine.

Summary of Task Force Recommendations and Findings

The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends reminder and recall interventions based on strong evidence of effectiveness in improving vaccination coverage:

  • In children and adults
  • In a range of settings and populations
  • When applied at different levels of scale from individual practice settings to entire communities
  • Across a range of intervention characteristics (e.g., reminders and recall, content, theoretical basis and method of delivery)
  • When used alone or with additional components

Read the full Task Force Finding and Rationale Statement for details including implementation issues, possible added benefits, potential harms, and evidence gaps.


Results of the Original and Updated Systematic Reviews

The Task Force recommendation is based on evidence from an original review (search period 1980-1997) and an updated review (search period 1997-2007). The systematic review was conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice, and policy related to increasing appropriate vaccination. This finding updates and replaces the previous Task Force finding on Client Reminder and Recall Systems (read the evidence review and Task Force finding in our library).

Previous Review (search period 1980–1997)

Forty-two studies qualified for the original systematic review.

Updated Evidence (search period 1997–2007)

Twenty studies were identified in the search period considered in this update.

  • Median increase in vaccination coverage:
    • Overall: 6.1 percentage points (20 studies)
    • Client reminder and recall alone: 5.1 percentage points (12 studies)
    • Client reminder and recall combined with additional components: 10 percentage points (8 studies)
  • Reviewed studies evaluated the effectiveness of client reminder and recall interventions in a wide range of client and provider populations and settings.

Publication Status

Full peer-reviewed articles of this systematic review will be posted on the Community Guide website when published. Subscribe External Web Site Icon to be notified when we post these publications or other materials. See our library for previous Community Guide publications on this and other topics.


The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.

Sample Citation

The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Increasing appropriate vaccination: client reminder and recall systems. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.

Review completed: February 2008