Impact of School Flu Vaccine Program on Student Absences

Sara S. Plaspohl, Georgia Southern University
Betty T. Dixon, Costal Health District
James A. Streater, Armstrong Atlantic State University


Literature provides evidence that school attendance correlates with academic performance and student success. Influenza is a contributing factor to school absences. Primary prevention for influenza includes immunization. School-located influenza vaccine (SLIV) programs provide greater access for students to be immunized. A retrospective review of preexisting data from four academic years was conducted to examine the relationship between SLIV participation and absenteeism among students at eight public elementary schools in Effingham County, Georgia. Results identified differences in average frequency of absences between SLIV and non-SLIV years as well as between SLIV participants and nonparticipants for the 2 SLIV years. Implications for practice include the potential for increased herd immunity among students, which may also extend to other parties within the school community and at home, thus promoting overall wellness and future student success.