MDHHS kicks off fourth annual College Flu Challenge, expands eligible participants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2017

CONTACT: Angela Minicuci,  (517) 241-2112

LANSING, Mich. – A college student’s health is vital to their academic success and an important part of student wellness is an annual flu vaccination. To help protect students and their communities from the flu, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is teaming up with Alana’s Foundation for the fourth annual College and University Flu Vaccination Challenge in order to promote annual flu vaccination.

Following the first three annual College and University Flu Vaccination Challenges, coverage among adults aged 18 – 24 years old, according to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, increased by 2.2 percent, up to 13 percent at the end of the 2016-2017 flu season. In response to this progress in coverage among young adults, the College Flu Challenge has expanded to include undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans.

The goal of the expanded challenge is to increase the number of adults who get vaccinated by creating a competition among Michigan schools, and their respective communities. Anyone who is affiliated with an enrolled institution, and has received the flu vaccine, can submit a self-report survey. By encouraging conversations about the importance of flu vaccine, this further prevents the spread of flu among college students and their friends, families, and communities.

“Flu vaccination remains the single best way to protect against getting the flu,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with MDHHS. “We know this Challenge has increased flu vaccination, and as a result, better protected our college and university campuses. We encourage everyone associated with an enrolled school to get their flu vaccine to help their campus be the healthier, winning school!”

There are currently 11 schools enrolled in the 2017-18 College Flu Challenge: Calvin College, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Hope College, Oakland University, Rochester College, Southwestern Michigan College, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University.

MDHHS continues to partner with Alana’s Foundation, who sponsors the winner’s trophies and vaccine assistance grants to schools that apply for funding. Everyone six months of age and older should be vaccinated against influenza each year. Even healthy, young adults can get sick with the flu.

This year’s competition runs through December 8, 2017, and there is still time for interested schools to sign up. Schools can enroll by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/r/FluChallenge1718. People affiliated with enrolled schools should self-report their flu vaccination by completing a quick survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/fluchallenge.  

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