MDHHS kicks off the Third Annual College and University Flu Vaccination Challenge

For Immediate Release: September 14, 2016

LANSING, Mich. ­­­– College students can better their chances for academic success, have more time to engage in campus activities, and improve their overall health by getting the flu vaccine and protecting themselves against influenza. That’s why the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is joining with Alana’s Foundation and Michigan colleges and universities to promote the third annual College and University Flu Vaccination Challenge.

The Flu Vaccination Challenge is designed to encourage students to get the flu vaccine through a friendly competition among rival schools. Participating colleges and universities compete for the highest flu vaccination coverage among small, medium, and large sized institutions. The challenge began in the 2014-2015 season in an effort to address the low flu vaccination coverage levels among college-aged young adults.

“Flu vaccination remains the single best way to protect against getting the flu, and MDHHS is encouraging all Michigan colleges and universities to support and promote flu vaccination among students,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with MDHHS.

During the 2013-2014 season, flu vaccination coverage for people in Michigan aged 18 through 24 years was 10.1 percent. After the implementation of the College Flu Challenge, Michigan flu vaccination coverage rates for this age group increased to 12.2 percent at the end of the 2015-16 flu season. The goal of the third annual Flu Challenge is to protect more students from the flu by further increasing flu vaccination coverage rates and enrolling more schools to participate.

There are currently 14 schools enrolled in the 2016-17 Flu Challenge: Calvin College, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Hope College, Lake Superior State University, Michigan State University, Oakland University, Rochester College, St. Clair Community College, Southwestern Michigan College, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University.

MDHHS continues to partner with Alana’s Foundation, who has sponsored the winner’s trophies for the Challenge, along with 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 very sick with the flu.

This year’s competition runs through December 9, 2016, and there is still time for interested schools to sign up.  Schools can enroll by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FluChallenge1617. Students from enrolled schools should self-report their flu vaccination by a quick survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/fluchallenge.

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