Benefits of a Workplace Flu Shot Program
Another way to look at it: flu and related influenza-like-illness (ILI) cause 45% of lost workdays among older employees. For a smaller business, losing that much time to key employees being down with the flu could be economically damaging.
But it can be worse – because influenza can be deadly too.
While we haven't seen a severe pandemic of influenza since the World War I era — which killed millions of people around the world — the flu continues to claim its toll of victims year after year, particularly among those over age 65. The CDC estimates that over a period of three decades (1976 – 2007), flu-related deaths in the US ranged from 3,000 to 49,000 people each of those years.
Flu Economic Costs Add Up: Estimates as High as $87.1 Billion Each Year
At the macroeconomic level, there is quite an economic cost to each year's seasonal flu epidemic. According to another study is published in the scientific journal Vaccine, flu cases resulted in 3.1 million hospitalized days and 3.4 million outpatient visits, with a medical bill that averaged $10.4 billion annually. The projected lost income due to illness (or worse, loss of life) came to $16.3 billion annually. Adding up these two figures gives us an estimate of the total cost of flu each year: $87.1 billion, according to this study.
Flu Shot Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why Should Someone Get Flu Shot?
If you get a flu shot at the beginning of flu season, you're statistically much less likely to get influenza this year. For example, last flu season the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) found that children who were immunized with the flu shot were 60% less likely to end up at the doctor's office with a case of the flu. Also, if you do happen to contract the flu despite getting a flu shot, your symptoms will be much milder and shorter if you've had the flu shot.
There's another important reason to get the flu shot: you're not only protecting yourself, but you're also helping protect those around you. If enough people in a given community or workplace are vaccinated, a concept that virologists call Herd Immunity can kick in. Establishing herd immunity means that there's much less likelihood of the virus spreading through the group; this can also help protect infants under six months of age, or those rare individuals who cannot get the flu shot from contracting the flu.
2. Are Flu Shots Safe?
The CDC reports that hundreds of millions of people over the last 50 years have been safely vaccinated with the flu shot, making it one of the safest medical products available. Even if you experience mild side effects, they will be much less severe than contracting influenza itself.
3. Should Kids and Pregnant Women Get a Flu Shot?
Since 2010, the CDC has recommended that everyone who is six months or older get a flu shot. This includes pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions, such as HIV.
(There are rare exceptions to this guidance, see item 4 below.)
By taking a universal flu vaccination approach, the CDC believes we can expand protection against the flu to more people and help protect those who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza.
Note: While nearly everyone should get a flu shot, the actual vaccine formulations may vary, depending on your age. For example, the formula for seniors older than 64 is different from the one given to younger adults or the one designed for children.
4. Who Should Avoid Getting a Flu Shot?
There are just a few cases where a flu shot is not recommended...
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