In an effort to further protect our campus communities throughout the region, the Northern Michigan Center for Rural Health at Northern Michigan University brought universities throughout the Upper Peninsula together to Fight the Flu. Students, staff and faculty from Finlandia University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University and Northern Michigan University competed to see which school could get the highest percentage of its total population vaccinated against the flu.

Results were based on individuals anonymously self-reporting they had been vaccinated. This ensured individuals who opted to receive their vaccination from a health department, at a community event or local pharmacy could participate in addition to those who were vaccinated during campus-wide flu shot clinics.

Based on the self-reported statistics, the winning University for the 2020-2021 academic year is Finlandia University!


Finland Flu Shot Winners
Finlandia University Nursing students accept the 2020-2021 "Fight the Flu"
competition trophy.


Precisely 12.10% of Finlandia's total student, staff and faculty population reported they had been vaccinated. Northern Michigan University placed second with 8.5%, Lake Superior State University placed third with 5.2% and Michigan Technological University came placed fourth with 5.1%. Elise Bur, Director of the Northern Michigan Center for Rural Health, travelled to Hancock, Mich. to present Finlandia nursing students and supervisors with the Fight the Flu competition trophy, designed by Dale Wedig, NMU Professor of Art and Design/Metalsmithing & Sculpture. This trophy will be housed by the winning school and relocated from year-to-year.

“We are very proud to win the Flu Shot Challenge Competition and receive the trophy,” said Irina Sergeyeva, assistant professor and director of the RN to BSN program at Finlandia. “This competition is a great initiative that brings the U.P. colleges together in the mutual effort to sustain the health of our local population.”


Flu Shot Trophy
The "Fight the Flu" competition trophy was design by NMU's Dale Wedig, Professor of Art and Design/Metalsmithing & Sculpture.


Self-reported vaccinations were lower than the actual number of vaccines administered by three out of four universities. A comparison is as follows: 


Actual School/Clinic Reported #'s

Self-Reported #'s

% of Self-Reported #

















Although overall statistics may appear to be underwhelming, it’s important to note that ALL universities exceeded their prior 2019-2020’s total vaccination numbers. It was a record year for all U.P. universities.

According to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, as of March 27, 2021, 34.11% of Michigan residents were vaccinated reflecting an approximate 2.5% increase over the year prior (31.57%). For the past five years the national vaccination rate in adults has increased each year as well. As of mid-January 2021, approximately 53% of adults had been vaccinated.

In the meantime, the Northern Michigan Center for Rural Health appreciates all of the collaborative efforts put forth by Finlandia University, Lake Superior State University, Northern Michigan University and Michigan Technological University. Efforts will continue to improve and expand this initiative next year in hopes of including regional colleges as well.

"It was exciting to collaborate with the regional universities on this project," Said Northern Michigan Center for Rural Health Director Elise Bur. "I look forward to creating additional opportunities to collaborate on initiatives that improve the health and well-being of our campus communities throughout the region". 

Remain diligent, healthy and safe!

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