Last year was a mild year for flu in Colorado. Masking orders, social distancing and remote learning kept case levels low. Only 34 Coloradans were admitted to the hospital with the flu last year, compared to more than 3,800 the year before.
But this year may be different. Call it a mixed blessing as COVID-19 cases ebb and accompanying prevention measures relax. “Our risk for influenza will be higher this year,” says Pinnacol Senior Medical Director Tom Denberg, M.D. He notes that with COVID-19 vaccination widespread, fewer people are masking and social distancing, and more people are engaging in social interactions. This will lead to higher influenza transmission rates.
That makes getting a flu shot even more critical. In addition to protecting you from the flu, the flu vaccine will reduce the burden on the healthcare system. While numbers of COVID-19 cases requiring evaluation and hospitalization have decreased, they’re still high, and resources are needed to manage them properly.
A flu shot won’t guarantee you’ll avoid the flu, but it significantly reduces your risk of getting it. Those who get the flu after vaccination have a less intense, shorter illness and are much less likely to require hospitalization.
Employers can increase the chances of their employees getting the flu shot by making it accessible. One way is to set up a flu shot clinic remotely.
5 tips for holding a flu shot clinic remotely
Many Colorado employees continue to work from home. If that includes your company, you can still hold a flu shot clinic and protect your employees. You just have to do it creatively. Here are some ideas.
- Give employees vouchers to go to the place of their choice to get a flu shot.
- Encourage workers to visit a pharmacy near your office. They won’t have to go into your building but will be more likely to know the area.
- Reimburse employees who show proof they got the shot.
- Email employees information about vaccination options through their medical providers under their employer-based health plans.
- Remind workers that COVID-19 and flu vaccines can be co-administered, saving them time.
If your employees remain hesitant, remind them that being proactive is best. “While flu activity may be low in your community now, it could begin increasing at any time. After you are vaccinated, your body takes about two weeks to develop antibodies that protect against flu,” Denberg notes.