WSU Wins National and State College Flu Vaccination Challenge

Wayne State University (WSU) has won both the inaugural Alana Yaksich National College & University Flu Vaccination Challenge and the MDHHS 2017-2018 Michigan College & University Flu Vaccination Challenge for medium-sized schools. This represents the fourth consecutive win for Wayne State University in the statewide challenge.

“We are beyond proud of the Campus Health Center (CHC) team and all our partners on campus for vaccinating more Wayne State University students against the flu than any year prior, and for taking home the trophies in both the national and statewide challenges, beating out dozens of other schools in over 10 states,” said Ann Rayford, chief nursing officer at CHC.

The flu vaccine is the number-one way to prevent the flu, yet national estimates show that only 46.8 percent of people 6 months and older received their vaccination last season; only 43.3 percent of adults 18 and over did. Both numbers are well below the Healthy People 2020 targets of 70 percent vaccination coverage for person 6 months to 17 years and over 18. To address these low rates, the national and statewide challenges were created.

“The Campus Health Center partnered with the College of Nursing and the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to provide valuable clinical experiences. Both nursing and pharmacy students assisted with community outreach as well administering the flu vaccine to the WSU community. Student-led community outreach events provide an opportunity for peers to discuss the importance of immunizations with fellow students,” explained Rayford.

CHC held 45 flu clinics across campus, where thousands of students simply walked in and received the flu shot within minutes. CHC also scheduled appointments and walk-in days at the student health center.

“We started Alana’s Foundation in 2009 after my daughter, Alana, age 5, died from the flu, a vaccine-preventable disease,” said Zachary Yaksich, founder and director of Alana’s Foundation, which hosted the national challenge. “I am amazed how the colleges and universities at the participating institutions have embraced this challenge and really made a difference in their yearly efforts to increase vaccination rates among the vulnerable student population and their community.”

The College Flu Challenge ended during National Influenza Vaccination Week. In addition to this challenge, MDHHS encouraged everyone 6 months of age and older to get the flu vaccine before the holiday season. In the last three decades, 75 percent of flu seasons peaked between December and February. By getting the vaccine now, families will protect themselves and their loved ones against the flu during the holidays and through the duration of the flu season.

“We applaud all colleges and universities for engaging their networks in the effort to protect their students, staff, and families from the flu,” says Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with MDHHS. “Even now, there is still plenty of time to benefit from vaccination coverage and help keep your family healthy before flu activity increases.”

Winning both the national and statewide challenges is a testament to the dedication Wayne State students have to living healthy lives. Vaccinating students against the flu is one way to keep them healthy and focused on their academic success.

It is not too late to get vaccinated this flu season. Visit CHC to get your late-season flu shot today or walk in at one of our upcoming flu clinics.

For more information about the flu in Michigan, visit

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