HealthDay News — A school-located influenza vaccination (SLIV) intervention is associated with a reduction in the incidence of influenza hospitalization, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in PLOS Medicine.

Jade Benjamin-Chung, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues examined a citywide SLIV intervention that aimed to increase influenza vaccination coverage. A multivariate matching algorithm was used to identify a nearby comparison school district. Cross-sectional surveys of student caregivers were conducted in 22 school pairs (6,070 in a 2017 survey; 6,507 in a 2018 survey).

The researchers observed variation in the number of students vaccinated by the SLIV intervention, from 7,502 to 10,106 (22 to 28 percent of eligible students) each year. In the comparison district, influenza vaccination coverage among elementary students was 53 to 66 percent. In influenza seasons 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016, coverage was similar between the intervention and comparison districts; in 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018, coverage was significantly higher in the intervention district. In the intervention versus comparison sites, the difference-in-differences in the incidence of influenza hospitalization per 100,000 was −17 and −37 in 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018, respectively, among non-elementary school-aged children, and −73 and −160, respectively, among adults aged 65 years or older. Per 100 school-days, the difference-in-differences in illness-related school absences was −0.63 and −0.80, respectively.

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“Even modest increases in influenza vaccination above moderate coverage levels are associated with broad community-wide benefits,” the authors write.

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