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Biosecur Bioterror. 2010 Dec;8(4):331-41. doi: 10.1089/bsp.2010.0029. Epub 2010 Nov 5.

Implementing a community-supported school-based influenza immunization program.

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  • 1Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, 2055 Mowry Road, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.


School-based influenza immunization programs are increasingly recognized as a key component of community-based efforts to control annual influenza epidemics. Computer modeling suggests that immunizing 70% of schoolchildren could protect an entire community from the flu. Most of the school-based influenza immunization programs described in the literature have had support from industry or federal grants. This article describes a program that used only community resources to administer live, attenuated influenza vaccine supplied by the state health department. Beginning in 2006, the Alachua County Health Department and school system, working in collaboration with the University of Florida, began exploration of a non-mandatory community-wide school-based influenza immunization program, with the goal of achieving high levels of immunization of the ~22,000 public and private pre-K through grade 8 students in the county. In 2009-10 the program was repeated. This report describes the procedures developed to achieve the goal, the barriers that were encountered, and solutions to problems that occurred during the implementation of the program. Preliminary data suggest that the crude immunization rate in the schools was approximately 55% and that at least 10% more students were immunized by their health providers. At an operational level, it is possible to achieve high immunization rates if the stakeholders share a common vision and there is extensive community involvement.

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