Immunization is a Public Health Priority
Despite years of effort, immunization rates have not reached desired levels. Nationwide, low-income children and adolescents are less likely than their wealthier peers to have been fully immunized.(1) In California, more than 8% of children arrive at kindergarten without all required vaccines, and only 42% of children and adolescents are immunized against the flu in any given year.(2) The rates of other essential vaccinations–including human papillomavirus, meningococcal meningitis, and pertussis/whooping cough–are also too low. As a result, children and adolescents catch, suffer from, and pass on dangerous preventable illnesses.
School-Located Vaccination Increases Immunization Rates
School-located vaccination (SLV) programs and school-based health centers (SBHCs) improve adolescent vaccination rates, while simultaneously saving health care dollars for society. More specifically, recent research shows that:
- SLV is an effective way to increase immunization rates and prevent costly illness.(3,4,5,6)
- More than 80% of SBHCs offer important adolescent vaccinations, with the vast majority providing vaccinations to Medicaid covered (96%) and uninsured (98%) students.(7)
- Across a wide range of vaccinations—including Hep B, Tdap, MMR, and HPV—SBHCs can achieve significantly higher rates of full immunization than other types of providers.(8)
Resources for Practice
For tools to help you implement school-located vaccination, see Immunization Resources.
(1) Child Trends Data Bank: http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/?q=node/71.
(2) California Health Interview Survey, 2009.
(3) Frieden, T. (2010). Memorandum Report: 2009 H1N1 School-Located Vaccination Program Implementation, OEI-04-10-00020.
(4) Gupta, R., Isaac, B., & Briscoe, J. (2010). A Local Health Department’s School-Located Vaccination Experience with H1N1 Pandemic Flu Vaccine. Journal of School Health. 80(7): 325.
(5) Lindley, M.C., Boyer-Chu, L., Fishbein, D.B., Kolasa, M., et al. (2008). The Role of Schools in Strengthening Delivery of New Adolescent Vaccines. Pediatrics. 121: S46-S55.
(6) Schmeir, J., Li, S., King, J.C., Nichol, K., et al. (2008). Benefits and Costs of Immunizing Children against Influenza at School: An Economic Analysis based on a Large-Cluster Controlled Clinical Trial. Health Affairs. W96-W104.
(7) Federico, S.G., Abrams, L., Everhart, R.M., Melinkovich, P., et al. (2010). Addressing Adolescent Immunization Disparities: A Retrospective Analysis of School-Based Health Center Immunization Delivery. American Journal of Public Health. 100(9): 1630-1634.
(8) Daley, M.F., Curtis, C.R., Pyrzanowski, J., Barrow, J., et al. (2009). Adolescent Immunization Delivery in School-Based Health Centers: A National Survey. Journal of Adolescent Health. 45: 445-452.