August 31, 2020

How to help employees get their flu shots during the Covid-19 pandemic

By Accolade

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As summer draws to a close, the coming of fall means that flu season is just around the corner. And this year, public health experts anticipate this year’s flu season will arrive with COVID-19 still a major concern in many parts of the country. Some experts are concerned the result will be a "twin-demic" of COVID-19 and influenza, making flu prevention an important part of any company’s COVID-19 strategy.

While the CDC recommends that everyone older than six months get a flu vaccine every year, the continuing prevalence of COVID-19 means that getting vaccinated is particularly important this flu season It’s not just for personal health, either: controlling the spread and severity of flu could be a key factor in preventing healthcare systems from being overwhelmed with cases of viral respiratory illnesses.

In past years, many employers have used workplace flu clinics to make it easy for their employees to access flu vaccinations. Unfortunately, the social distancing necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic means that many workplaces are still shuttered and that many people remain reluctant to visit a doctor’s officeBut that doesn’t mean employers are out of options. Even if your workforce is largely remote, there are still plenty of ways to support your team – and their families – in getting the preventive healthcare they need. Here are some ways you can help your team get their flu vaccines this year, even if they’re not physically in the office.

Help employees develop a flu shot plan

With the ease of options like office flu shot clinics and pharmacy drop-ins, many people are not used to planning for a flu shot beyond putting their name on a sign-up sheet. But with offices closed and running errands already a fraught exercise for many folks, getting vaccinated is going to require a little more planning ahead this flu season.

Having a plan in place can makes it easier to ensure that everyone in a household is getting vaccinated, and that they’re getting the vaccination that’s right for them. The CDC recommends two doses of flu shot at least four weeks apart for children getting their first flu vaccination, for instance, while adults over 65 may benefit from a high-dose flu vaccine.

Making a flu shot plan not only makes it easier to execute, but it also keeps the topic on your employees’ minds when it might otherwise slip through the cracks.

Step up your vaccination communications

Many health plans fully cover the cost of a flu shot for members and their families, so this is a great time to remind your team of what their benefits are and how they can most effectively use them, especially when it comes to preventive care.

During the pandemic, many people are focused on COVID-19 and are forgetting about influenza or don’t know how getting protected against influenza can improve our public health response to COVID-19.

Of course, communicating what your organization’s benefits cover and the best way to find an in-network provider can be a full-time job. That’s why Accolade offers a variety of tools to help your team navigate their healthcare journey with confidence and find the right doctor for them. For more tips on crafting effective employee communications in the time of COVID, watch our recent webinar.

Make it a teachable moment While many local pharmacies make it easy to get a flu shot on site and take appointments, flu vaccines are also a great way to connect with a primary care doctor. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many individuals delaying healthcare, so getting into the office for a flu shot this fall is also a great way to reconnect with a primary care physician.

For individuals who don’t have a primary care doctor, a flu shot can be a great way to establish that relationship and get more engaged in preventive care going forward.

To learn more about managing employee health during the COVID-19 pandemic, download Accolade’s recent report on the subject here.