Promises and pitfalls of meta-analysis in vaccine research

Robert M. Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Meta-analysis continues to grow in usage despite increased concern regarding its soundness. Over twenty meta-analyses directly pertain to vaccines. Vaccine researchers need to understand the technique as well as the criticisms. Meta-analysis involves four steps. First, the meta-analyst should establish certain criteria in advance of the second step where the meta- analyst gathers the data - the results of the individual studies. Third, the meta-analyst assesses the individual studies for combinability and, fourth, the meta-analyst actually combines the data to generate conclusions. Vaccine meta-analyses have addressed a variety of vaccines and a variety of study objectives including efficacy, immunogenicity and safety. Three classical concerns revolve around the issue of publication bias, data dredging and individual study variability. Additionally, vaccine meta-analyses suffer concerns particular to the field of vaccine research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1628-1634
Number of pages7
Issue number13-14
StatePublished - Jan 1999


  • Meta-analysis
  • Methodology
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Veterinary
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Promises and pitfalls of meta-analysis in vaccine research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this