Journal article Open Access
Jarrett, Caitlin; Wilson, Rose; O'Leary, Maureen; Larson, Heidi
The purpose of this systematic review is to identify, describe and assess the potential effectiveness of strategies to respond to issues of vaccine hesitancy that have been implemented and evaluated across diverse global contexts. A systematic review of peer reviewed (January 2007-October 2013) and grey literature (up to October 2013) was conducted using a broad search strategy, built to capture multiple dimensions of public trust, confidence and hesitancy concerning vaccines. This search strategy was applied and adapted across several databases and organizational websites. Descriptive analyses were undertaken for 166 (peer reviewed) and 15 (grey literature) evaluation studies. In addition, the quality of evidence relating to a series of PICO (population, intervention, comparison/control, outcomes) questions defined by the SAGE Working Group on Vaccine Hesitancy (WG) was assessed using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria; data were analyzed using Review Manager. Across the literature, few strategies to address vaccine hesitancy were found to have been evaluated for impact on either vaccination uptake and/or changes in knowledge, awareness or attitude (only 14% of peer reviewed and 25% of grey literature). The majority of evaluation studies were based in the Americas and primarily focused on influenza, human papillomavirus (HPV) and childhood vaccines. In low- and middle-income regions, the focus was on diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, and polio. Across all regions, most interventions were multi-component and the majority of strategies focused on raising knowledge and awareness. Thirteen relevant studies were used for the GRADE assessment that indicated evidence of moderate quality for the use of social mobilization, mass media, communication tool-based training for health-care workers, non-financial incentives and reminder/recall-based interventions. Overall, our results showed that multicomponent and dialogue-based interventions were most effective. However, given the complexity of vaccine hesitancy and the limited evidence available on how it can be addressed, identified strategies should be carefully tailored according to the target population, their reasons for hesitancy, and the specific context.