Last October, Children’s Wisconsin was one of four agencies in the state awarded a grant through the Wisconsin Immunization Program, part of the Department of Health Services. The goal of the grant is to increase flu vaccine access for all and help eliminate racial, ethnic, and other disparities in Wisconsin communities. Children’s Wisconsin was the only organization selected to raise awareness among children.
Nicholas Herrick, a Children’s Wisconsin school health nurse supervisor who spearheaded the grant, had the idea to develop a comic book that would bring to life a group of flu-fighting health care heroes. They would deliver the message about the importance of protecting ourselves and others by getting the flu vaccine. Nicholas collaborated with illustrator and designer Carl “Dutch” Dutchin, owner and founder of Dutchs Dynamic Illustration in creating the messaging and characters, and localizing it with the Milwaukee skyline and other elements.
Nicholas solicited the help of Children’s Wisconsin Language Services to translate the comic books in six languages: English, Spanish, Hmong, Karen, Burmese and Arabic. The books are being rolled out and made available in schools, clinics and community organizations throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.
“Our goal is to have these books help dispel myths and share the facts about the importance of the flu vaccine in a fun, interactive and inclusive way,” said Nicholas. “The comic book characters represent multiple ethnic backgrounds and the book is in black and white so children could color the characters in themselves, giving them the ability to have them look like or represent them if they wanted. We want all kids to be able to identify with the characters while learning the facts about the safety and importance of the flu vaccine.”