The University of Michigan is among more than 200 higher education institutions in 43 states to join the White House’s COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge, which seeks to provide opportunities and access to all members of the university community to become vaccinated.
The campaign, which launched June 2, invites college presidents across the country to become Vaccine Champion Colleges and pledge to take specific actions to increase vaccination rates in their college communities. All 15 of Michigan’s public universities, including all three U-M campuses, have agreed to participate in the challenge.
As U-M prepares to resume more in-person learning on campus this fall, the pledge is designed to increase vaccine uptake in the 18- to 24-year-old population, as well as reach every member of the campus community to encourage them to get vaccinated.
“With every vaccine, we are one step closer to the campus life we know and have missed,” said Preeti Malani, U-M’s chief health officer. “As we prepare to welcome back our students on campus this fall, the success of our fall plans depends on the community being highly vaccinated.”
Participating universities and colleges must commit to the following actions to join the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge:
- Engage students, faculty and staff members by educating the campus community on their eligibility for the vaccine and resources to find one.
- Organize the college community by identifying champions for vaccine efforts across campus and implementing a plan to get as many members of the campus community vaccinated as possible.
- Deliver vaccine access for all by bringing vaccines on-site, or helping students, staff and faculty to find nearby vaccine sites this summer, and track success.
By taking the pledge, the university has committed to building on existing efforts to provide the U-M community with access to the vaccine. Some of that work includes:
- COVID-19 vaccines are available on campus at University Health Service to any student, faculty or staff member who wants to be vaccinated.
- Collaboration with local pharmacies to vaccinate U-M students, staff, faculty and eligible family members in May.
- Launch of the student COVID-19 vaccination self-report tool, which as of June 1 has verified vaccination records of more than 17,000 students on the Ann Arbor campus. The university is currently working to launch a similar vaccination self-report tool for faculty and staff in the coming weeks.
- Outreach to the student community through a text messaging campaign to educate and promote vaccination and clinics.
- Continued vaccination opportunities through Michigan Medicine.
- Messaging around vaccination at campus COVID-19 briefings.
- Preparation to launch a student self-reported vaccination dashboard with the number of students who have shared their vaccination information.
- Developing incentive campaigns to encourage and reward vaccination among the student and employee populations.