Higher numbers of students with the immunization has also meant that fewer staff members have been off work due to illness, she said.
When fewer children are home with the flu, fewer parents and grandchildren have to stay home from work with the students, Gupta said. Fewer parents and grandparents get sick when students are vaccinated, he said.
"Ninety percent of the deaths related to the flu are in elderly adults," Gupta said.
The program started in 2009 when the Health Department vaccinated students against the H1N1 "swine flu" virus with federally funded vaccinations. Since then the Health Department has been offering flu vaccines to students each flu season without much funding.
Instead of relying on grant or government funding, the Health Department bills students' insurance plans to cover the costs of the vaccines.
Health officials ask parents to volunteer their insurance information.
About 91 percent of the parents provide the insurance information voluntarily, Gupta said. Of those who give their insurance information, health officials were able to bill 90 percent last year. The goal is to bill 100 percent of the insurance companies, Gupta said.
Children whose parents choose not to give insurance information or who do not have insurance may receive a federally funded vaccine anyway, Gupta said.
Health Department officials will travel to San Francisco to present information about the flu vaccination program Wednesday at this week's American Public Health Association annual meeting.
"The presentation is a recognition that this was an innovative model," Gupta said. "We presented part of it last year. This year we will present the absentee data to show that fewer kids are staying out of school.
"We're getting calls from all over the country, from Minnesota to California. People are asking us for information," Gupta said. "They want to replicate the model."
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.