© 2016 Taylor & Francis. Microneedles (MNs) are designed to specifically target the outermost, skin barrier layer, the stratum corneum, creating transient pathways for minimally invasive transcutaneous delivery. It is reported that MNs can facilitate delivery without stimulating the pain receptors or damaging blood vessels that lie beneath, thus being perceived as painless and associated with reduced bleeding. This immunocompetence of the skin, coupled with its ease of access, makes this organ an attractive vaccination site. The purpose of this review was to collate primary scientific literature pertaining to MN-mediated in vivo vaccination programmes. A total of 62 original research articles are presented, compiling vaccination strategies in 6 different models (mouse, rat, guinea pig, rabbit, pig, macaque and human). Vaccines tested span a wide range of viral, bacterial and protozoan pathogens and includes 7 of the 13 vaccine-preventable diseases, as defined by the WHO. This review highlights the paucity of available clinical trial data. MN-delivered vaccines have demonstrated safety and immunogenicity in pre-clinical models and boast desirable attributes such as painless administration, thermostability, dose-sparing capacity and the potential for self-administration. These advantages should contribute to enhanced global vaccine access.