New Campaign Brings Awareness About the Importance of Flu Vaccination to AZ Students 

By Arizona Health Department

The Arizona Partnership for Immunization and the Arizona Department of Health Services today launched the first annual University Flu Shot Challenge with Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona. The challenge will run until the end of January. The purpose of the challenge is to increase flu vaccination rates in Arizonans with a focus on college students.

The 2019-2020 campaign incorporates education materials and social media messaging to college students. Student health centers will offer free flu vaccines for students and the number of vaccinations given at each university during the competition will be tracked. The spirit of competition has begun with each school mascot already jumping on board to receive their annual flu shots.

“Getting a flu shot every year is the most effective way to protect yourself from the disease, and I encourage students at all colleges and universities in the state to get vaccinated right away,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “While the competition between the universities is a fun way to bring attention to the issue, there is nothing fun about getting the flu. The flu is a serious disease that spreads easily, can cause students to miss several days or even weeks of class, and in some cases the illness will require hospitalization and can even be deadly.” 

According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases survey in 2017 among college students, although “most college students in the US (70%) believe that it is important to get an annual influenza (flu) vaccine, less than half (46%) say they typically get vaccinated.” This campaign provides a unique and school-spirited, competitive way to educate and engage college students in the importance of flu vaccination for themselves and their classmates.

“The Arizona Partnership for Immunization and the Arizona Department of Health Services are working together to encourage flu shots for our University students,” said Debbie McCune Davis, executive director of the Arizona Partnership for Immunization. “We know the value of preventing disease and keeping our college students healthy and productive.”

The Arizona Partnership for Immunization and the Arizona Department of Health Services are providing a toolkit to each of the participating universities that includes tips on how to encourage students to get their flu shots and social media messages and images. The toolkit can be found online at:
azhealth.gov/UniversityFluChalleng

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