LANSING, MI – College students can study harder and do better when they’re healthy, and an important part of wellness is getting an annual flu vaccination.
The second annual College and University Flu Vaccination Challenge is a partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and enrolled schools during the 2015-16 flu season. The challenge began in the 2014-15 season as a friendly competition between schools to see which could get the highest flu vaccination coverage on their campus.
“Flu vaccination remains the single best way to prevent getting the flu, and MDHHS is encouraging all Michigan colleges and universities to support flu vaccination among students. It can be a bit more fun when our campuses can challenge each other to exceed in this important public health effort,” said Dr. Eden Wells, the department’s chief medical executive. “Before the flu hits your campus, assess the needs of your students and strongly recommend the flu vaccine now and throughout the entire season.”
College students have unique risk factors that make them more susceptible to getting sick, such as close contact in dormitories, classrooms, public transportation, parties, and sports events. But even healthy young adults can get influenza. According to Michigan Care Improvement Registry data, adults aged 18-24 years have the lowest flu vaccination coverage rate, only 10.8 percent during the 2014-15 flu season.
There are currently 15 schools enrolled in the 2015-16 College Flu Challenge. They are Albion College, Alma College, Aquinas College, Calvin College, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Michigan State University, Muskegon Community College, Oakland University, Rochester College, Southwestern Michigan College, University of Michigan, and Wayne State University.
Students from enrolled schools should self-report their flu vaccination via a short online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cfc1516. This year’s challenge runs from August 2015 through March 2016. The winning schools – one small, medium, and large – will be determined based on the student self-reported vaccinations and each school’s undergraduate population.
MDHHS also continues to partner with Alana’s Foundation for the College Flu Challenge. Alana’s Foundation will award the winning schools with Alana Yaksich Memorial traveling trophies in Spring 2016.
For more information about the College Flu Challenge, visit the 2015-16 College Flu Challenge website at www.michigan.gov/flu.