To describe parents' experiences and preferences regarding the use of different communication modes for immunization reminder/recall messages.


A cross-sectional, Internet-based survey of a nationally representative sample of parents of children 0 to 17 years of age was performed. Survey items included questions regarding previous receipt of reminder/recall notices; preferences for how to receive notices in the future; recentness of changes to home address, home telephone, cell phone, and e-mail information; child's usual site for immunization; and willingness to register cell phone numbers with the child's immunization provider to receive future cell phone or text messages about immunization.


Overall, 31% of parents had ever received an immunization reminder/recall notice, usually by mail. For future immunization messages, approximately one-third of parents preferred mail or calls to the home telephone, 16% preferred e-mail, and 8% preferred calls to a cell phone. More than one-half of parents had maintained the same home address, home telephone number, cell phone number, or e-mail address for the previous 3 years. More than one-half of parents were willing to register their cell phone numbers with their child's usual immunization provider.


Although most parents continue to prefer the traditional modes for immunization reminder/recall messages, 1 in 4 preferred newer technologies, and parents' e-mail and cell phone information was surprisingly stable. More than one-half of the parents were willing to register their cell phone numbers for future immunization messaging via cell phone calls or text messages. Research and implementation efforts might benefit from focusing on this willing population.

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