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Currently submitted to: JMIR Research Protocols

Date Submitted: Nov 6, 2019
(closed for review but you can still tweet)

Use of apps to promote childhood vaccination: a systematic review protocol

  • Michelle Van Velthoven; 
  • Madison Milne-Ives; 
  • Caroline de Cock; 
  • Mary Mooney; 
  • Edward Meinert; 



The decline in the uptake of routine childhood vaccinations has resulted in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccination apps can be used as a tool to promote immunization through the provision of reminders, dissemination of information, peer-support and feedback.


The aim of this review is to systematically review the evidence on the use of apps to support childhood vaccination uptake, information storage and record sharing.


We will identify relevant papers by searching electronic databases: PubMed, EMBASE (Ovid), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, ERIC and We will review the reference lists of those studies that we include to identify relevant additional papers not initially identified using our search strategy. In addition to the use of electronic databases, we will search for grey literature on the topic. The search strategy will include only terms relating to or describing the intervention, which is app use. As almost all titles and abstracts are in English, 100% of these will be reviewed, but retrieval will be confined to those in the English language. We will record the search outcome on a specifically designed record sheet. Two reviewers will select observational and intervention studies, appraise the quality of the studies and extract the relevant data. All studies will involve the use of apps that relating to child vaccinations,. The primary outcome is the uptake of vaccinations. Secondary outcomes are as follows: Use of app for sharing of information and providing vaccination reminders Use of app for storage of vaccination information, knowledge and decision-making of parents regarding vaccination (risks and benefits of vaccination), costs and cost-effectiveness of vaccination apps, use of the app and measures of usability, e.g. usefulness, acceptability and experiences of different users (parents, healthcare professionals), use of technical standards for development of the app, adverse events (e.g. data leak, misinformation). We will exclude studies that do not study an app. We anticipate a limited scope for meta-analysis and will provide a narrative overview of findings and tabular summaries of extracted data.


Proposed protocol - results pending


This review will be following, where possible, the Cochrane Collaboration and Centre for Review and Dissemination methodology for conducting systematic reviews and we will report our findings based on guidelines from Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. The review results will be used to inform the development of a vaccination app.


Please cite as:

Van Velthoven M, Milne-Ives M, de Cock C, Mooney M, Meinert E

Use of apps to promote childhood vaccination: a systematic review protocol

JMIR Preprints. 06/11/2019:16929

DOI: 10.2196/16929


Per the author's request the PDF is not available.