Offering the flu vaccine at elementary schools could improve vaccination rates, which might reduce flu cases and deaths among children, according to a study recently published in Vaccines.
The study found that by providing a school-located vaccination clinic, flu vaccination rates among children increased 13.2 percent when compared to children in schools without vaccination clinics.
Approximately 40 percent of U.S. children received a 2012-2013 flu vaccine, which is often provided in a primary-care settings. The vaccine can be lifesaving for children. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 percent of children who died from the flu during the last flu season were not vaccinated.
"Primary-care practices may not have the capacity to vaccinate all U.S. children against seasonal influenza," Byung-Kwang Yoo, the lead author of the study, said. "If the CDC's recommendations were followed, primary-care offices would have to accommodate 42 million additional patient visits during the five-month window for each flu season."
The study found that the per-dose cost for onsite school vaccination clinics was $19.26 per dose, when considering costs related to taking children to pediatricians' offices for flu vaccines. The mean cost of direct flu vaccination costs in a pediatrician's office is $38.23, while the median cost is $21.44. Yoo said the cost per dose would substantially decrease if the team could determine how to refine the much less efficient second day of the school-located vaccination clinic.
The University of California Davis Health System, the CDC, the Monroe County, N.Y., Department of Public Health and the University of Rochester Medical Center all contributed to the study.