Oakland leads competition for state flu vaccinations


Oakland students are encouraged to come into Graham Health Center to receive their flu shot for the year.

In 2014, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services started a friendly competition between Michigan colleges and universities of all sizes to encourage students to get vaccinated against the flu.

All of the participating schools are split into three divisions: small, medium and large. Oakland falls into the medium division along with Western Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and Wayne State University. OU currently has the lead with about 400 vaccines administered to students from nurses at the Graham Health Center.

“The competition is scored based on two different types of reporting: reporting done directly by the GHC into MCIR [Michigan Care Improvement Registry] after the vaccine is administered and self-reporting done by students who get their vaccines at the GHC or somewhere else,” director of the Graham Health Center Nancy Jansen said.

The process to self-report a flu vaccination and help Oakland win the challenge is simple. After receiving the vaccine, Oakland students just have to visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cfc1516 and enter the name of their school, what month they got the vaccine in, where they got it and their age.

Oakland students can come in for their flu shots any day of the week during normal hours (8am-5pm) if they call ahead, or they can come in on Walk-In Wednesdays between 8:30am-11:30am and 2pm-4pm to receive a flu shot without scheduling an appointment.

The GHC accepts most health insurances but if a student doesn’t have insurance that is taken or doesn’t have health insurance, there are other options to make sure that as many students as possible are getting vaccinated. 

“With funding donated by Alana’s Foundation and the OU Office of Student Affairs, we had enough money to purchase 300 doses of flu vaccine to provide to students with no health insurance,” Jansen said.

Students who don’t have health insurance can come into the GHC at any time to take advantage of the free flu vaccines. The GHC will also be at the Rec Center on November 4th from 12pm to 2pm for the Benefits and Wellness Fair and November 10th in the OC from 1:30pm to 4pm to provide free flu shots.

Alana’s Foundation, the community partner to the Campus Flu Challenge strives to increase vaccination rates by educating the public on the importance of vaccines and providing resources to make them more available to people who don’t have health insurance and can’t afford it. The foundation originally proposed the idea of the Campus Flu Challenge to the MDHSS.

Last year OU took third in the medium division with only 2.2% of students actually self reporting their flu vaccines. Wayne State brought home the gold totaling 2721 flu vaccines administered. Just a little over two months into the competition, Oakland has a running total of about 450 self-reported vaccines.

“We’ve had cases on campus so far this year, but over all in the state of Michigan the numbers haven’t been increasing. We don’t know when the flu will peak this year so it’s important to get your flu shot as early as possible,” Jansen said.

The GHC hopes that students will participate more in both investing in their health by getting their flu shot and self-reporting for the competition so that Oakland can take home the trophy and ensure an overall healthy atmosphere on campus.

The competition season lasts from August until March 31st.