FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2010
Contact: HHS Press Office
January 14: Young Adults Flu Vaccination Day
Sebelius Announces New Facebook Application Called “I’m a Flu Fighter”
National Influenza Vaccination Week continues with a focus on the importance of young adults getting vaccinated against the H1N1 flu. Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will visit Hunter College in New York City for a roundtable discussion with students and faculty about the H1N1 flu. Secretary Sebelius will also announce a new Facebook application called, “I’m a Flu Fighter” that allows users to tell their friends that they received the flu vaccination and urge others to do the same.
“Friends, family and neighbors can make the difference in whether or not someone gets vaccinated against the flu,” said Secretary Sebelius. “Social media has been an important tool to communicate with young people and all Americans about the importance of getting the H1N1 Flu vaccine throughout our vaccination program. This new Facebook application will help friends encourage each other to get the H1N1 flu vaccine.”
The “I’m a Flu Fighter” Facebook application takes users through four steps. In the first step, “Choose My Character,” users choose between a superhero, a doctor, a virus behind bars, or a cartoon syringe to represent themselves as a flu fighter. Then, users set their status by sharing whether they got the flu vaccine or plan to, and how it was (Could be better, Fine, Good, Great!). Next, users can send invites to their friends challenging them to get vaccinated. Lastly, users are taken to a page with resources about flu such as the flu vaccine locater. The visibility of users’ information as Flu Fighters is controlled by users through their privacy settings.
The application was developed through the HealthySocial research project at Children’s Hospital Boston in collaboration with HHS. Founded by Ben Reis, PhD, of the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program, HealthySocial is a non-profit project that explores how to use social networking tools to improve health.
“Social networks have tremendous potential to do good in the world,” says Reis. “By leveraging existing social connections, people can spread positive health behaviors and attitudes amongst their friends and loved ones.”
National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), January 10-16, 2010, is a national observance that was established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination, as well as fostering greater use of flu vaccine.
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Last revised: May 7, 2011