The New Jersey College & University Flu Challenge is an initiative that teams the New Jersey Department of Health with colleges and universities in the state to improve flu vaccination rates among students. Young adults have been shown to have lower flu immunization coverage rates as compared to other age groups. In addition, college campuses have many communal settings, which make it easier for the flu to spread. If a college student gets the flu, they can experience illness for eight or more days, causing them to miss classes and other events. Those reasons make it extremely important to bring added awareness to the benefits of vaccination.
The challenge encourages friendly competition between institutions to determine which campus can achieve the highest flu vaccination rates. Each participating institution develops and implements a unique influenza campaign to fit the needs of the student body. Flu vaccination coverage is measured by a short student self-reported survey. By participating in the challenge, institutions receive access to educational resources, an award of participation, and a chance to win the traveling trophy for the year.