A study conducted by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center reports that across eight North Carolina universities surveyed, only 14% to 30% of students reported they had been vaccinated against influenza. A total of 4,090 college students participated in the confidential, web-based survey conducted in late October and November 2009 about whether they had received a flu shot. The findings appear in the Journal of American College Health.
“Influenza virus is contagious and is known to circulate through college campuses, enhanced by close living quarters, typical social activities and low vaccine coverage,” said Kathy Poehling, MD, lead author of the study. “With influenza virus already being detected this November, it is likely to increase in the next 1 to 3 months and may overlap with exam periods. Although it is hard to predict the severity of the coming flu season, we usually have more influenza activity after a mild season like last year’s.”
Colleges and universities across the country are encouraged to come up with new and improved ways to increase the number of students who get the annual flu vaccine.