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Paediatr Child Health. 2011 Jan;16(1):e1-5.

The effectiveness of telephone reminders and home visits to improve measles, mumps and rubella immunization coverage rates in children.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.



In the Saskatoon Health Region (Saskatchewan), only 67.4% of children overall are fully immunized for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) at 24 months of age, with only 43.7% of low-income children fully immunized.


Parents of children who were behind in MMR immunizations were contacted to determine knowledge about, beliefs toward and barriers to immunization. The effectiveness of a telephone reminder system in improving immunization rates in a health region compared with a control health region was determined. Finally, the effectiveness of telephone reminders versus telephone reminders combined with home visits in improving child immunization coverage rates in low-income neighbourhoods was compared.


The survey was completed by 629 parents (69% response rate). Of those, 81.8% were not aware that their child was behind in immunizations. In the Saskatoon Health Region, the MMR immunization coverage increased from 67.4% to 74.0% in the first year of intervention (rate ratio = 1.10; 95% CI 1.08 to 1.12). All four neighbourhood groupings (three urban by income and one rural) had relative increases ranging from 9% to 11%. The control health region observed an immunization coverage increase from 66.5% to 69.2% in the first year (rate ratio = 1.04; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.07). The three low-income neighbourhoods with only telephone reminders had an immunization coverage rate of 48.7% (95% CI 39.5% to 57.8%). The three low-income neighbourhoods that received a telephone reminder and home visit had an immunization coverage rate of 60.5% (95% CI 52.5% to 68.6%).


Telephone reminder systems have some benefit in increasing child immunization coverage rates.


Children; Immunization; Intervention studies

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