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J Adolesc Health. 2009 Nov;45(5):445-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.04.002. Epub 2009 May 30.

Adolescent immunization delivery in school-based health centers: a national survey.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado 80045-0508, USA.



Vaccinating adolescents in a variety of settings may be needed to achieve high vaccination coverage. School-based health centers (SBHCs) provide a wide range of health services, but little is known about immunization delivery in SBHCs. The objective of this investigation was to assess, in a national random sample of SBHCs, adolescent immunization practices and perceived barriers to vaccination.


One thousand SBHCs were randomly selected from a national database. Surveys were conducted between November 2007 and March 2008 by Internet and standard mail.


Of 815 survey-eligible SBHCs, 521 (64%) responded. Of the SBHCs, 84% reported vaccinating adolescents, with most offering tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis, meningococcal conjugate, and human papillomavirus vaccines. Among SBHCs that vaccinated adolescents, 96% vaccinated Medicaid-insured and 98% vaccinated uninsured students. Although 93% of vaccinating SBHCs participated in the Vaccines for Children program, only 39% billed private insurance for vaccines given. A total of 69% used an electronic database or registry to track vaccines given, and 83% sent reminders to adolescents and/or their parents if immunizations were needed. For SBHCs that did not offer vaccines, difficulty billing private insurance was the most frequently cited barrier to vaccination.


Most SBHCs appear to be fully involved in immunization delivery to adolescents, offering newly recommended vaccines and performing interventions such as reminder/recall to improve immunization rates. Although the number of SBHCs is relatively small, with roughly 2000 nationally, SBHCs appear to be an important vaccination resource, particularly for low income and uninsured adolescents who may have more limited access to vaccination elsewhere.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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