USF goes head-to-head in flu shot competition

Students can expect free flu shots, food, T-shirts and giveaways at the Fall Health Festival on Oct. 2. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

For students with a competitive drive and who are looking for ways to protect their health, getting a flu shot this year may meet that happy medium. 

USF will hold the first flu shot competition at the Fall Health Festival on Oct. 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside of Student Health Services (SHS). 

Susanna Perez-Field, communications and marketing officer for SHS, said USF was approached by FSU and UF to join a friendly competition to see which school can give the most flu shot vaccines. UCF was the final university to join the competition. 

Students can expect an appearances by USF President Steven Currall and Rocky D. Bull, along with free food, T-shirts and giveaways.

The event is sponsored by Bulls Country Pharmacy, the Center for Student Well-Being, Campus Recreation and Dining Services.  

Perez-Field said USF decided to enter the competition because it was a creative way to get students vaccinated. 

“We eagerly accepted because the flu is so prevalent on our campuses in the fall and winter months,” Perez-Field said. “Getting the flu shot is a quick and easy way to reduce the risk of sickness on our campus and support students’ academic goals.” 

Perez-Field said she hopes the competition aspect will minimize students’ intimidation about the vaccine. 

“The competition makes the event fun and it’s also a collaborative way to reduce the flu on our campuses and support our high-achieving students at the four largest state universities,” said Perez-Field. “Many students have to confront their fear of shots, but the truth is we’ve been through worse: SATs, group projects, AP exams, 8 a.m. classes.

“The flu shot takes about two minutes.” 

Although they did not participate in a competition last year, SHS vaccinated nearly 700 students and ran out of vaccines, according to Perez-Field. A large number of students were still interested in being vaccinated, so SHS ended up holding a second free flu shot event later in October. 

Perez-Field said SHS is prepared for a larger turnout this year and have made sure there are enough vaccines for more students. Their goal is to vaccinate about 800 students.

Aside from the universities being awarded the prize of flu prevention, the school that provides the most vaccines will receive a golden trophy. 

“We know Bulls like to win and informed Bulls will always choose to protect the herd,” Perez-Field said. “We want to defeat the flu and we want to help USF win the competition.”