How to Set a Public Health World Record for Flu Inoculations

October 5, 2018

An inspired name — and a bit of student high jinks — transmogrifies a mass vaccination program into an annual form of entertainment.

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// By Peter Hochstein //

Peter HochsteinQuick, which would you rather do?

Interrupt your daily routine, stand in a long line, and then get poked in the arm by a sharp needle?

Or join an event with a funny name — Flulapalooza — meet friends in a congenial atmosphere inside a tent, and get a Flulapalooza sticker you can paste on your shirt, arm, or forehead? Plus, you can post a selfie on Twitter and Instagram, wearing your sticker. And you’ll be part of a team effort that gets the university or the medical center you work for into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Getting Funny with a Serious Purpose

Okay, full disclosure. If you chose the Flulapalooza option, you’ll still get that poke in the arm. This is, after all, about a mass flu vaccination event. Even so, it wins hands down over merely standing in line and getting poked.

That’s not an opinion. That’s a documented fact, written up in 2017 in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), recounting a completely serious mass inoculation experiment at Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Like all good scientific experiments, this one is repeatable, and has been repeated since the event began in 2011, with similar results. And therein lies a tale.


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