Why Now More Than Ever You Should Encourage Employees to Get a Flu Shot

Just about everyone is tired of the Covid-19 vaccine debate, but it’s time to start pushing another vaccination–for the flu.

The flu is a terrible disease in its own right, but it turns out the flu vaccine has another benefit: It can reduce the effects of Covid. 

While the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and the Federal Courts have clearly said that employers can mandate Covid vaccinations, many employees are hesitant. Some of that hesitancy comes because the Covid vaccine is not formally approved by the FDA but approved under Emergency Use Authorization. The flu shot, on the other hand, has been formally approved for years and years. While it won’t stop someone from getting Covid, it may reduce the severity if they do get it. If your goal is healthy employees, this could be a good step.

Control your messaging

The last thing you want to do is make your vaccine-hesitant employees dig in their heels further. So, don’t approach it negatively. That is, don’t tell your employees they are stupid for not getting the Covid vaccine and, therefore, should get the flu vaccine. This message will not help.

Focus on the positive effects of the flu vaccine. Try these points.

  • The flu vaccine has been in use since the 1940s!
  • The flu vaccine can protect you against the flu, which is an awful and occasionally deadly disease.
  • The flu vaccine can reduce the severity of a Covid-19 infection.
  • Your company wants everyone to be healthy!
  • The flu vaccine helps you and others stay healthy.
  • Everyone should speak with their own doctor about the flu vaccine.

Looking at the positive side of things–especially in healthcare–can help your employees realize that a flu vaccine can help them.

Talk with your health insurance broker.

Your health insurance provider would be thrilled to get everyone vaccinated against Covid-19 and the flu. While the federal government (i.e., your tax dollars) picks up most of the cost of Covid vaccinations, your employees may be on the hook for some of the cost of a flu vaccine.

Give your health insurance broker a call and see if they can help you make a flu vaccine easier and cheaper for your employees to receive. Some companies bring in someone to give a flu vaccine each year. It makes it easy for your employees and helps the hesitant get vaccinated. Perhaps your health insurance broker can help set that up for you.

Don’t forget other diseases exist.

While employers shouldn’t meddle in their employees’ healthcare, many problems were pushed to the back burner with Covid. People missed nearly 10 million cancer screenings due to pandemic shutdowns and other covid problems.  Keep your employees’ overall health in mind. The flu shot is one part of this, but encouraging routine medical care, including cancer screening, should be part of your health focus now. 

Everyone wants to be healthy, and every employee wants a reliable workforce–and that means keeping people as healthy as possible. Focusing on something other than Covid-19 may help with this.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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