herd immunity and social reinforcement
i received the sticker at left this morning, along with my free flu shot and oreo cookies at willey hall. though public health campaigns generally appeal to individual self-interest, the minnversity is pitching its flu vaccination program as a pro-social act.
the immunological concept of herd (or community) immunity is inherently social: for diseases passed person-to-person, the chain of infection quickly breaks down when much of the "herd" is immune. vaccination of a sufficient proportion of the population therefore protects the unvaccinated as well as the vaccinated. if enough of us get the shot in november (there's a nasal spray option as well, for the needle-averse), there will be little fever and vomiting on campus in february.
just as i voted stickers provide social reinforcement for civic and political participation, the cow sticker provides cool-dork reinforcement for the putatively pro-social act of immunization. plus, the cow logo is so tight that my wizversity friends are kicking themselves for not thinking of it first. though wisconsin remains america's dairy state, we minnesotans cherish our cows as much as our civic participation.