Your focus has been on helping your firm get everyone vaccinated for COVID-19. But it’s time to shift your focus, because flu season is here! Now, you need to help employees get their flu vaccines.
Last year the flu was almost nonexistent because everyone was wearing masks, social distancing and staying home. Many people didn’t even socialize with family over the holidays.
This year, however, is going to be different. Experts are predicting a more severe flu season. Reason: With so few cases last year, Americans have less natural immunity against influenza. Not to mention the fact that millions of people have returned to the workplace. And not all workplaces mandate masks.
You can get COVID-19 and the flu
Here’s something employees may not know, and you’ll want to educate them on. You can get COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. Just because employees have been vaccinated for COVID-19 doesn’t mean they’re protected from the flu and vice versa.
Let employees know the only way to protect themselves from the flu is via the flu vaccine. And the only way to protect themselves from COVID-19 is to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s that simple.
If employees ask you if having the flu makes them more susceptible to COVID-19, here’s what you can tell them. While having any illness lowers your immunity somewhat, COVID-19 is still fairly new, and the medical community has little info on how the flu might affect a person’s risk of getting COVID-19. That’s straight from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s urgent that Benefits pros encourage and make it as easy as possible for employees to get their flu vaccine.
Hold flu vaccine clinics
One thing firms can do?
Offer a flu vaccine clinic onsite. According to the CDC, the reason onsite vaccine clinics are a good idea is they:
- Decrease missed time from work to get vaccinated
- Decrease absences from contracting the flu and, therefore, improve productivity
- Vaccines are often already covered under employees’ health plans, and
- Improve morale.
If you’ve never provided a vaccine clinic before, the CDC has guidance available for planning vaccination clinics. Or if it’s not an option for your firm, consider creating a list of places in the community where employees can go to get their flu vaccine.