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CMU participates in flu vaccination challenge


 Flyers about the Flu Challenge hang outside Student Health Services on Nov. 9 in Foust Hall.

Central Michigan University is competing against other universities to see which campus has the most people vaccinated against the flu this year. 

The initiative is part of the Flu Challenge in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Resources. Universities compete to help raise awareness of the importance of getting the influenza vaccine. 

Universities earn points when students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans take a self-reported survey after getting vaccinated against the flu. Those who get the vaccine at Health Services in Foust Hall can fill out the survey at the clinic. People can also fill it out online if they get the vaccine at another location. 

Universities are divided into divisions based on size, said senior Grace Czubachowski, who is the student representative for the Flu Challenge. CMU is competing against Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Oakland University, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University. 

Dr. Bobbi Jorkos said the Foust Clinic has seen patients with flu-like symptoms but hasn’t seen the flu spread yet. Last year, Health Services saw many cases of the flu, she added. 

Jorkos was concerned last year when only 1,200 people — including students, faculty and staff — received flu shots at Health Services. People could’ve been vaccinated at other places, she said, but the number is still low for a large college campus. 

“Especially on a college campus, there are so many shared environments and common quarters that (the flu) can spread very quickly from one person to another,” Jorkos said. “A lot of times, the flu can actually be transmitted even before you have symptoms, so you can be walking around campus and not even know you have the flu yet still pass it on to other people.”

Some students assume they’ll be OK without the vaccine because they’re young and healthy, Jorkos said. Others worry about pain, say their families don’t promote getting vaccinated or believe they could get the flu from the vaccine — which Jorkos said is a myth. 

The flu can be dangerous, she said, even for people who are otherwise healthy. 

“We’d certainly like for (the number of people getting vaccinated) to be higher,” Jorkos said. “The recommendation for typical populations is to have about 70 percent of the population immunized. We’re far behind that.” 

Jorkos said students without insurance coverage would pay $35 at most for the vaccine at Health Services.

“It’s really something that I think is worth its money,” Jorkos said. “Typically insurance companies do pay for it pretty well because they appreciate the value of the flu vaccine and what it can offer you.”

Students with insurance can call the number of the back of their insurance cards if they have questions about coverage. Students who have questions about their vaccines can call or visit Health Services in Foust Hall.