Flu vaccination reduces school absenteeism

RESEARCH into the effect of mandatory influenza vaccination in Japanese schools has shown it was effective in reducing absenteeism  and cancelled classes.

Laws requiring compulsory vaccination of students, which began in the 1960s, were relaxed in 1988 and revoked in 1994 amid public concern over adverse reactions. Influenza vaccination did not resume in schools until 2000, when participation was voluntary.

A long-term study of absenteeism in one school has found this increased from 2.5% to 3.2% as the requirement was relaxed, then rose to 4.3% when no vaccines were given. It eased to around 3.8% under voluntary vaccination. 

The number of days on which classes were cancelled similarly increased from 1.3 to 8.3, then 20.5, before easing to around eight, per year.

Clin Infect Dis 2011; 53: 130-36