(HealthDay News) – School-located vaccination against influenza (SLV-I) is a cost-effective means to improve childhood influenza vaccination rates, according to a study published in the April 19 issue of Vaccine.

Byung-Kwang Yoo, MD, PhD, from University of California Davis School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed the cost and cost-effectiveness of SLV-I based on a randomized controlled trial of an SLV-I program implemented in Monroe County, NY, during the 2009/2010 vaccination season. In 21 intervention elementary schools (9,027 children), first and second SLV-I clinics were offered, while standard care (no SLV-I) was provided in 11 control schools (4,534 children).

The researchers found that receipt of one or more dose of influenza vaccine was 13.2 percentage points higher in SLV-I schools than control schools. Direct costs, including the school costs ($9.16/dose in 2009 dollars) plus project costs ($23.00/dose) plus vendor costs excluding vaccine purchase ($19.89/dose), were higher ($52.05/dose) compared to the previously reported mean/median cost ($38.23/$21.44 per dose) for providing influenza vaccination in pediatric practices. Parent costs to visit medical practices ($35.08/vaccine) were eliminated with SLV-I. Utilizing a simulation model that combined direct and averted costs, SLV-I costs were $19.26/dose in net costs, below practice-based influenza vaccination costs. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was approximately $92.50 or $38.59 (including averted parent costs). When including the costs averted by disease prevention, the SLV-I model appeared to be cost-saving to society, compared to “no vaccination.”

“Our findings support the expanded implementation of SLV-I, but also the need to focus on efficient delivery to reduce direct costs,” the authors write.

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