During 3 consecutive influenza seasons beginning in 2005, the Knox County Health Department conducted school-located mass vaccination clinics using live attenuated influenza vaccine.
Clinics were held each year throughout the county over 4 weeks in more than 100 public and private schools for more than 65, 000 students in Grades K to 12. Overall, the proportion of all students vaccinated at school each year exceeded 40%. Our experience indicated that careful and thorough planning was essential to program success.
Critical planning elements included (1) initial planning with extensive lead time to find the proper lead agency and project leader and to develop sound comprehensive vaccine clinic planning; (2) developing partnerships, especially with schools; (3) communicating successfully with parents, children, school administrators and teachers, medical providers, and the community at large; and (4) educating these groups successfully, using good timing, through local media, school events, direct mailings (including parents receiving information and consent packets), and partners.
We review here the details of these key planning elements.