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TCNJ wins NJ Department of Health flu shot challenge

TCNJ won first place in the second annual New Jersey College & University Flu Challenge. Of the 11 New Jersey schools that participated, TCNJ had the highest percentage of students who self-reported they had received the flu vaccine.

The New Jersey Department of Health introduced the challenge in 2017 to encourage college students to get vaccinated. This age group has much lower rates of immunization, and communal living spaces on college campuses can become breeding grounds for the flu.

And there’s nothing like a little friendly competition to motivate college students into action.

“We entered the New Jersey College & University Flu Challenge as a way to ramp up student interest in flu vaccination,” says Janice Vermeychuk, director of Student Health Services.

Vermeychuk reports that through the challenge, on-campus flu vaccination rates are up by 30 percent.

Senior nursing major Samantha Green was one of several student nurses who administered the vaccine to members of TCNJ’s community — including President Foster — during on-campus flu shot clinics.

Samantha Green ’19 administered a flu shot to President Foster at an on-campus flu shot clinic in fall 2018.

“Instead of visiting her doctor’s office or any pharmacy down the road, President Foster utilized the campus flu shot clinic for her annual vaccine,” says Green. “I personally feel this act shows a commitment and dedication to the institution she serves.”

The Department of Health monitored the number of students from each school who reported they received the flu vaccine. At the end of the flu season, the department announced that TCNJ had the highest rate of coverage.

The college will be presented with the traveling trophy at the upcoming New Jersey Immunization Conference on May 29.

— Sarah Voorhees ’20