Ashley Franks and Narveen Jandu
Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the influenza vaccination rates and other protective health behaviors amongst college students during the 2014-2015 influenza seasons.
Materials & Methods: In this study, an online survey was used to determine the rate the influenza vaccination rates and any changes in student hygienic behaviors during the 2014-2015 influenza season amongst college students. Survey responses were collected from Jan. 15, 2015 to Feb. 15, 2015 and elicited 265 responses from college students.
Results: The total vaccine rate among respondents was 23%, but compared to the previous year (2013-2014) the overall vaccination rate among respondents decreased by 10%. Regardless of vaccination, 53% of total respondents reported a ‘slight change’ or ‘more’ in the protective health behavior of hand-washing.
Discussion: The influenza vaccination rate amongst college students is within the range of the national CDC vaccination rate of 31% for this age group. The decrease in vaccination rates from 2013-2014 to 2014-2015 was consistent with the mismatch between the influenza strain and vaccine targets.
Conclusion: Beyond vaccination, protection against influenza also involves enhanced personal and hand-hygiene behaviors. Such behaviors are very important on a college campus due to close living conditions and other social and casual behaviors.