The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reminding employers about promoting flu vaccines in the workplace this year.
Although the 2020-2021 flu season was the lowest it has been since reporting began in 1997, the CDC highly recommends individuals get flu shots for the 2021-2022 season.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said precautions against COVID-19 worked well to prevent the flu last year, however that results in fewer population-level immunity to the flu this year.
The CDC has issued updated guidance to protect against the expected virus strains for the upcoming season.
The CDC continues to recommend employers consider offering free on-site flu vaccinations for employees, although finding providers to make onsite visits particularly difficult for the 2020-2021 season and may be equally challenging this year.
It is important to remember vaccinations are often already covered under employee health plans.
Bringing the vaccinations to the workplace can help reduce costs because employees won’t have to take time off to get vaccinated.
In the long term it should also cut down on the number of employees who get the flu, resulting in improved productivity.
The CDC said the planning process should include input from employees, and labor representatives as appropriate.
Employers often set aside a coordinator or team of employees to lead vaccination efforts.
The CDC suggests allowing employees to attend on-site flu vaccination clinics as part of their work day without having to take time off.
Some employers have also found success in offering flu vaccinations to employees’ families.
Informational posters about the importance of flu vaccination should be posted in break rooms, in other high-traffic areas, and sent through emails.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health provides information about getting help from an outside contractor to administer the vaccines.
Planning for a temporary vaccination clinic requires additional considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes physical distancing, personal protective equipment, and enhanced sanitizing efforts.
Though limited data exists on giving the flu vaccines simultaneously with the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC has indicated the way the body develops protection and possible side effects are generally similar whether vaccines are given alone or with other vaccines.
If someone is suspected of having COVID-19 or has a confirmed case, they should wait until their isolation period ends before getting the flu shot.