It’s no secret that Carolina likes to win. But if you thought the University racked up championships only in athletics, think again. Carolina is also the reigning national champion for flu shots.
For the third year in a row, Carolina partnered with Alana’s Foundation to track campus participation in a national university competition to raise awareness of the necessity of flu vaccinations. The competition ran from September to December, with participants filling out a brief survey confirming they received a flu vaccine. Each reported vaccination earned a point for their school. According to the Alana’s Foundation website, this year Carolina reported almost 3,000 flu vaccinations, ranking number one among medium-sized universities.
It’s no surprise the Carolina community showed out for this important competition, said Michelle Camarena, director of nursing for campus health.
“We love a challenge, and we find that students really react well when we tell them we’re participating in this challenge because they want to represent the Tar Heels and try to win,” Camarena said. “Within our population, the flu vaccine sort of sells itself.”
The number one way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine, as well as to follow protocols such as handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes. Camarena also said that even if someone gets the flu after vaccination, they are likely to have reduced severity of symptoms and reduced length of symptoms, so they can still benefit from getting their flu shot.
It’s not too late to get your flu vaccine, even though the competition has ended. Amy Sauls, director of pharmacy for Campus Health, said students are still encouraged to receive their vaccine through the number of options available on campus.
“Getting a flu shot is something easy that we can do in the realm of COVID-19,” Sauls said. “We know that the flu vaccine helps prevent the flu, and it seems to me that people have seized on the option to do something proactive for their health right now.”
On campus, flu shots are still available at Campus Health Pharmacy and the Student Stores Pharmacy with no appointment necessary. For more information, visit flu.unc.edu.