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)

(1) Child Trends Data Bank:
(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.