Military Personnel: Is There a Difference in Vaccination Rates between Standard, Indication & Seasonal Vaccinations?

Research Paper Title

Vaccination coverage rates of military personnel worldwide: a systematic review of the literature.


Due to the professionally specific risk of infection in the armed forces, recommendations for vaccination are usually adapted for soldiers and are subject to special regulations. Little data is available on scientifically measured vaccination coverage of soldiers.


A systematic literature research was carried out in the PubMed database using the search terms “army” or “military” or “Bundeswehr” and “vaccination” or “vaccine”. Studies covering the period from 1990 to 2018 that contain statements on vaccination coverage rates of soldiers were identified. Twenty-two out of the initially found 1801 results were used.


The studies found were conducted in nine different countries with eight out of the 22 studies originating from the USA. The size of study was between 180 and 32,502 subjects.

On average, the vaccination rates determined in the studies were between 26.8 and 94.7%. Hepatitis A coverage was lowest (a minimum of 11.3%) and tetanus vaccination coverage was highest (with a maximum of 94.7%).

Vaccination rates decreased with increasing age and coverage tended to be lower for men than for women. The term of service did not have a significant effect on vaccination rates.


On the whole, most studies referred to recruits. They showed high vaccination rates for standard vaccinations and lower vaccination rates for indication and seasonal vaccinations.

However, there were also vaccination gaps of temporary-career volunteers.

This leads to a considerable effort at the armed forces to complete vaccine protection in case of a short-term operational commitment.


Arnold, J.N., Gundlach, N., Bockelmann, I. & Sammito, S. (2020) Vaccination coverage rates of military personnel worldwide: a systematic review of the literature. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health. doi: 10.1007/s00420-020-01559-w. Online ahead of print.


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