BACKGROUND: High vaccination rates are needed to protect against influenza and to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Health authorities need to know if supplementing mass communications with direct correspondence to the community would increase uptake. OBJECTIVES: The primary objective is to determine if sending a single written message directly to individuals increases influenza vaccine uptake, and a secondary objective is to identify any identified content shown to increase influenza vaccine uptake. METHODS: MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane CENTRAL, PsycINFO, and PubMed were searched for RCTs testing a single correspondence for members of the community in OECD countries to obtain influenza vaccination. A meta-analysis with inverse-variance, random-effects modelling was used to estimate a mean, weighted risk ratio effect size measure of vaccine uptake. Studies were quality assessed and analysis was undertaken to account for potential publication bias. RESULTS: Twenty-eight randomized controlled trials were included, covering 45 interventions. Of the 45 interventions, 37 (82.2%) report an increase in influenza vaccination rates. A formal meta-analysis shows that sending a single written message increased influenza vaccine uptake by 16%, relative to the no contact comparator group (RR = 1.16, 95% CI [1.13-1.20], Z = 9.25, p < .001). Analysis shows that the intervention is effective across correspondence type, age group, time, and location, and after allowing for risk of publication bias. LIMITATIONS: The generalizability of results across the OECD may be questioned. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: The implication for public health authorities organizing vaccination programs for influenza, and arguably also for COVID-19, is that sending written vaccination correspondence to members of the community is likely to increase uptake. This study is pre-registered on osf.io;

  • All age groups
  • Coverage
  • Influenza