Background: The AAP childhood vaccination guidelines support offering influenza vaccine in community settings such as schools. The current Department of Health and Human Services distribution plan for the novel A/H1N1 vaccine calls for school-based vaccination programs.
Objectives: The objective of the present study was to collect data on various factors impacting school-based influenza vaccination programs administered during the 2008-2009 season.
Methods: Key stakeholders in the oversight and administration of elementary school-based influenza vaccination programs were interviewed using a structured survey, focusing on funding, logistics, classroom disruptions, barriers, and perceived benefits.
Results: Seventy-two interviews were conducted with 30 health care professionals (HCP), 16 school administrators (SA) and 26 teachers from 34 schools in 8 school districts. Of these programs 62% offered LAIV only, 13% offered TIV only and 25% offered both LAIV and TIV. The mean school size reported was 535 students (SD=223) with an average of 169 (SD=173) children vaccinated. Average program duration was 2.9 years (SD=3.5). More than 50% of HCP and 80% of SA said that the program was easy to initiate. Teacher reports of children being upset after receiving either LAIV or TIV was less than 10%. More than 90% of all those interviewed found the programs to be minimally or not at all disruptive to the school day. HCP identified the following as the most important aspects of a successful program: adequate planning/coordination (67%); a dedicated program coordinator (63%); and a consistent funding stream (60%). About 75% of responding HCP and SA found programs less difficult to implement in following years.
Conclusions: School-based vaccination programs are feasible to initiate, minimally disruptive, and are perceived to become more efficient with experience. Lessons from past school-based programs may help improve future programs. Study supported by MedImmune.