School Located Influenza Vaccination Clinics
The Louisiana Office of Public Health (OPH) is promoting school located influenza vaccination campaigns for influenza season 2019-2020. Now is the time to identify schools and begin planning. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices now recommends annual influenza vaccination for all persons who can receive the vaccine.
Children are an important vector for the spread of communicable diseases in households, communities, and at school; this is especially true for influenza disease. Healthy school-aged children have a high attack rates during annual influenza epidemics, and illness in this age group is associated with high rates of school absenteeism. Adolescents often have many close contacts with school, sports, events and activities. Adolescents, however, less frequently seek preventive health services in the traditional medical home compared to other age groups and are much less likely to schedule an annual visit for this recommended influenza vaccination.
Most vaccinations to date have occurred in private practice settings; however, due to factors including the inability of traditional settings to provide care, schools are increasingly recognized as a potential venue to deliver influenza vaccines to school-age children.
The goal of the 2019-2020 Louisiana School Based Influenza Vaccination Initiative is to improve access to influenza vaccine for children through a comprehensive school-located program. With the nasal mist vaccine and the efficiency of administering influenza vaccine, school-located influenza immunization programs can easily and efficiently achieve higher vaccination coverage of school aged children than individual visits to a primary care provider, while providing less overall disruption for the school system.
The program strives to be sustainable by supporting companies that provide influenza vaccination services in schools with tools and “champion” support, as well as utilizing the Louisiana Vaccines for Children (VFC) program for Medicaid insured, underinsured, Native Americans/Alaskan Natives, and uninsured students. Additionally, by utilizing the State immunization registry (LINKS), we can efficiently document vaccine utilization, while minimizing waste and preventing fraud and abuse.
We will use the CDC’s FluVaxView at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/fluvaxview/index.htm to monitor the State’s school-aged children vaccination rate over time.
By minimizing barriers to access and providing annual influenza vaccination services at the school location, there can be maximal access to vaccination with a minimum of disruption to the educational environment. Additionally, providing access to these services may also eventually decrease the overall influenza burden in communities by increasing the overall herd immunity.
Please contact the Immunization Program at 504-568-2600 if you have additional questions.