The Kalamazoo College Student Health Center (SHC) is celebrating the national recognition it’s receiving for its efforts in fighting the flu on campus.
K finished first in Michigan and third in the nation in the Small College Division of the Alana Yaksich College and University Flu Vaccination Challenge. The challenge, sponsored by Alana’s Foundation, measures the number of students vaccinated against influenza at each of the 21 institutions participating across 11 states. The SHC administered 385 shots to students this fall including 180 through two on-campus vaccine clinics with the pharmacy OptiMed and 205 through walk-in service at the health center.
“K students know that when they receive the vaccine they’re not only protecting themselves, but the entire K community from the flu,” Student Health Center Director Lisa Ailstock said. “Our vaccination numbers prove that and we in the health center take great pride in this recognition.”
In 2009, Alana Yakisch’s family established Alana’s Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about the severity of influenza and the importance of yearly flu vaccinations for children and adults alike. Alana was 5 years old in 2003 when she died of flu-related complications that caused swelling and injuries to her brain. According to Alana’s Foundation, more than 200,000 people nationwide are hospitalized each year from the flu and an average of 36,000 die despite a vaccine’s availability.
“I continue to be amazed how the colleges and universities at the participating institutions have embraced this challenge and really made a difference in the yearly efforts to increase vaccination rates among the vulnerable student population and their community,” said Zachary Yakisch, Alana’s father and the founder and director of Alana’s Foundation.
K students still interested in receiving a flu shot may do so on a walk-in basis during normal business hours or through a yet-to-be scheduled clinic this term. For more information, contact the health center at 269.337.7200