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SMC accepts Flu Vaccination Challenge

Southwestern Michigan College is one of 12 schools participating in the fourth annual College and University Flu Vaccination Challenge to promote influenza vaccination. Twelve schools enrolled in the 2017-18 challenge also include Calvin College, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Hope College, Oakland University, Rochester College, University of Michigan, Wayne State University; Western Michigan University; and Kalamazoo College.

A college student’s health is vital to academic success.

An important part of student wellness is an annual flu vaccination.

The schools are working in concert with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Alana’s Foundation.

The non-profit was founded in 2009 by the West Bloomfield family of Alana Yaksich, who died Feb. 3, 2003, at 5 ½ of flu complications.

After the first three annual College and University Flu Vaccination Challenges, coverage among adults 18-24 years old increased by 2.2 percent to 13 percent at the end of the 2016-17 flu season, according to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry.

In response to this progress in young-adult coverage, the challenge expanded to include undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans.

Anyone affiliated with an enrolled institution who receives flu vaccine can submit a self-report survey.

Encouraging conversations about the importance of flu vaccine further prevent 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,” according to Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “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!”

Alana’s Foundation sponsors three winners’ trophies and vaccine assistance grants to schools that apply for funding.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated each year.

Even young, healthy adults can get sick with the flu.

This year’s competition runs through Dec. 8.

Schools are divided into three categories based on undergraduate population (small, <10,000; medium, 10,001-25,000; and large, 25,001+). There are then three winners — one from each category.

Results from the three previous challenges:

• 2016-17 — Calvin College, small; Wayne State University, medium; and U of M, large.

• 2015-16 — Calvin College, small; Wayne State University, medium; and Michigan State University, large.

• 2014-15 — Hope College, small; Wayne State University, medium; and MSU, large.

People affiliated with enrolled schools should self-report flu vaccinations by completing a quick survey at surveymonkey.com/r/fluchallenge.