Marion County Public Health Department’s Sleeve Up Indy! campaign has been a welcome supplement to their annual flu campaign. Their target is the county’s Black community, though they have found that their efforts have spilled over into the Latinx community as well. They created a media campaign using multiple local celebrities, including a DJ, newspaper editor, a bestselling author, and a social media influencer in conjunction with their Public Health Director, Dr. Virginia Caine. They have created ads for use in radio, social media, television, newsprint and on mass transit.
Alongside the Sleeve Up Indy media campaign, they have held multiple community flu vaccination clinics. These have been held at a variety of community centers, churches and homeless shelters. To date, they have administered 1,050 doses of flu vaccine, primarily to Black and Latinx communities as well as to those people who are at highest risk for both COVID-19 and flu.
They also partnered with agencies throughout the county who are able to use flu vaccine they provide through their Flu Share Program to reach some of the most vulnerable of the population, which overlaps with their REACH target audience. This year, these community partners have vaccinated an additional 1,460 clients in food pantries, homeless camps, community centers, and more.
The biggest challenge they have encountered with this initiative is completing the work during a pandemic. Not only has the workload of everyone involved increased immeasurably, but every clinic must also take into account safety measures that they have never had to deal with before. Keeping clients and staff safe during clinics has become a primary focus.
One of their biggest successes was holding their first ever drive-thru flu clinic in November. This was definitely an exercise in planning as they were continuing COVID-19 mitigation strategies, but with an entirely new clinic set up. The clinic ran smoothly and was successful.
A fun fact about their city is that Indianapolis is known as “America’s Sports Capital,” hosting racing events, national basketball and football tournaments, and soccer. It is also home to the largest single-day sporting event in the world, the Indy 500.