October, 2012 – Most people start thinking about flu shots in or around September every year. Employers should consider gathering information and setting up their flu clinics in the late spring and/or early summer to ensure they are protected and prepared for the fall each year.
Every year, an estimated 10 to 25% of Canadians may contract the flu, with children being two to three times more likely than their adult counterparts to come down with the flu virus. Studies have shown that vaccinating children against flu protects the entire family and community at large against the spread of the flu virus.
To minimize absenteeism, employers frequently offer onsite seasonal flu vaccination to employees at no or low cost to their employees. This option can work well if the employer has an on-site occupational health clinic. If you don’t have a clinic, pharmacies and community vaccinators can be contracted to provide seasonal flu vaccination services on-site. By providing the vaccination at the workplace, employers reduce the many barriers that can prevent a worker from getting vaccinated.
Planning for a Corporate Flu Clinic
In an effort to minimize absenteeism, employers frequently offer onsite seasonal flu vaccinations to employees. This option works well whether as an employer you have an onsite occupational health clinic, or you are able to provide workspace to set up a flu clinic onsite. By providing an onsite vaccination clinic in the workplace employers reduce the many barriers that often prevent employees from obtaining a flu vaccination.
Promote your Clinic
Promotion of your planned flu clinic is important in encouraging employees to participate. Many employers offer flu clinics at various points throughout the workday, while others offer clinics throughout the workday as well as after hours in an effort to accommodate family members as well as employees.
Various promotional materials can be prepared in an effort to promote your clinic including:
- Email blast to all employees promoting the benefits of vaccination and providing an attachment with details of dates, times, location, etc;
- Posters and other paper based promotional material prepared specific to your organization for placement in lunchrooms and other public employee areas of your workplace;
- Meeting(s) with your employee group providing a Q&A-style sessions and provide information on flu clinics and a forum for public discussion.
Flu Clinics and Families
Many employers are offering flu vaccination clinics to employees as well as their family members in an attempt to encourage participation and further protect the employee from the negative aspects of the flu.
Employers who offer vaccinations to family members as well as employees experience higher than average employee participation in the flu clinic program and as a result, often experience a decrease in absenteeism.
Absenteeism and the Flu
Employers who study corporate absenteeism and the reasons behind casual absence often find that the flu is a major reason for employee casual absence. Employees take time away from the workplace to treat their own flu symptoms, as well as to treat and assist family members when they are experiencing flu symptoms.
When flu vaccinations are encouraged by employers and both employees and family members agree to receive the flu vaccine, often employers see a decrease in casual absence.
Employers face challenges in keeping productivity at an acceptable level during flu season, as well as ensuring that their employees are as healthy as they can possibly be.
Does your workplace suffer from higher than average absenteeism during flu season? If you are like most employers the answer to this question is a resounding “yes”.
- Days lost to absenteeism and their associated financial costs;
- Lower morale in the workplace due to some employees performing the duties of others while they are away from the workplace;
- Absenteeism due to the flu breeds additional absenteeism…
- Some employees will feel obligated to attend the workplace regardless of their state of health. This is a dangerous situation for a number of reasons. For the sick employee, they are not able to tend to their health situation and will often remain ill for a longer period of time. For the sick employee’s colleagues, influenza is easily spread which breeds further illness.
A.R.S. Assessment Rehabilitation Services Inc. (A.R.S.) is pleased to partner with AstraZeneca to offer a revolutionary flu vaccine – FluMist® to our employer clients and their valued employees by way of Flu Clinics beginning in the fall of 2011.
AstraZeneca reports that FluMist® has a long standing history in the United States and as FluMist® is delivered as a nasal mist as opposed to the traditional flu ‘vaccine’, many employers and individuals are opting to take advantage of this product beginning in 2011.
FluMist® is a preservative-free vaccine that uses live virus strains recommended by the World Health Organization (northern hemisphere) for this influenza season that are weakened so as not to cause the flu.
Available in the U.S. since 2003, FluMist® has been studied in more than 140,000 people and more than 39 million doses have been manufactured and distributed in the U.S. alone.
To help protect against seasonal influenza, FluMist®, the only needle-free vaccine, is available this fall through Flu Clinics in conjunction with A.R.S. and AstraZeneca.
With FluMist®, adults and children can feel reassured that they can be protected against influenza with a safe and effective vaccine, without having to experience the discomfort that comes with the traditional injectable vaccine.
A.R.S. understands that absence, presenteeism and all associated costs related to influenza are concerning to employers. Today, immunizing employees and their families is easier and more cost effective than ever.
A.R.S. can arrange for flu clinics on your time schedule – if you have employees working regular hours, shift work or any combination of the two we can accommodate. A.R.S. can deliver a flu clinic from a few hours in length to a full day where required.
Our registered nurses are willing and able to attend your workplace on your schedule. An effective flu clinic and immunization program will help to ensure that your employees and their families are as healthy as they can be.
A.R.S. is also able to develop promotional material for your workplace and conduct lunch and learn sessions on the importance of flu vaccination, and the benefits achieved when employees obtain the annual flu vaccine.