It may be difficult to get your employees' attention about something as commonplace as getting flu shots. But employers can serve an important role in controlling the spread of influenza.
Inform your employees about the potential dangers of the flu, and provide easy access to flu shots.
Start by promoting three venues where WEA Trust health plans cover flu shots for your employees:
- A local pharmacy: Health plan participants who have a pharmacy benefit can get a flu shot at no cost to them at most Wisconsin pharmacies.
- A worksite clinic: If you arrange to provide vaccinations at your facilities, you'll be reimbursed for up to $35 per shot or mist for WEA Trust health plan members. Employers can contact their WEA Trust account manager for more information.
- Network physician's office: Flu shots are covered at 100% and not subject to deductible, coinsurance, or copay.
Wisconsin lags behind
Wisconsin is one of only three states in which the vaccination rate declined from the 2011-12 to the 2012-13 flu season. In the 2013-14 season, Wisconsin's vaccination rate of 42.3% of residents six months and older - with just over 38% for adults - was only 38th nationally.
On average, one in five Americans get the flu each year, and it kills between 3,000 and 49,000 per year, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control. In addition to the danger risks for your staff, you might have to deal with missed work hours when the flu sweeps through your workforce.
Classrooms and office buildings: virus heaven
Classrooms and office buildings are notorious settings for spreading viruses, such as the flu, which can be transmitted through touch, bodily fluids, and through the air. Encourage employees to wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers frequently when they're in contact with others. By far the most important preventive measure, however, is a flu shot.
Do it for yourself and also to protect those around you who are especially vulnerable, such as those with a chronic health condition and those too young to receive the influenza vaccine.
There are different flu shots for different ages and conditions, but in general, the CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. If you are uncertain, consult with your doctor.