Immunizations in the Workplace: 6 Things Employers Should Know

As an employer, you can make significant strides in improving your employees’ overall health by educating them about the importance of immunizations.

In 2015, it was estimated that over 18.5 million cases of diseases occurred that could have been prevented by something as simple as an immunization, as Health Affairs reports. That equated to $9 billion in direct costs and lost productivity. As an additional example, whooping cough (pertussis) — which can be prevented by a vaccination — had 17,972 cases in 2016, with 6.7 percent hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It’s likely that some of your organization’s employees are affected by lost productivity as a result of diseases that could have been prevented by immunizations. This could be either from contracting an illness themselves (like the flu) or from caring for a child or loved one who wasn’t vaccinated. Here are six basic facts to know — and share — about immunizations.

1. Immunizations Include Flu Shots

Some immunizations offer long-term protection against diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella. However, flu vaccines offer short-term protection and need to be administered every year. While they’re not 100 percent effective, they do provide a level of protection that may vary from year to year. The CDC estimates that flu shots reduce the risk of the flu by 40 to 60 percent during seasons when the virus is well-matched with the vaccine. You can see a list of additional diseases that have vaccinations on the CDC’s website.

2. Immunizations Aren’t Just for Kids

Many people think immunizations are just for babies, but adults need to keep their immunizations up to date, too. Many immunizations require additional follow-ups in order to continue providing protection from disease. For example, you might need a new tetanus vaccine if it’s been more than 10 years since your last one. You can share this fact sheet with employees, which the CDC provides to help educate adults about vaccinations relevant to them.

3. Immunizations Help Keep Others Well, Too

An immunization protects not only the person who received it but also others they come into contact with. Simply put, by not contracting and spreading disease, immunized employees help keep others healthy. And some people, including those whose immune systems are compromised, may not be able to get certain vaccinations, meaning they might really appreciate it if the people around them do.

4. Immunizations Help Employees Stay Healthy and Productive

Many people in the United States still contract diseases that are easily preventable by immunizations. Getting immunizations, including flu shots, helps keep employees healthy and on the job. You’ll also cut down on the danger of “presenteeism,” which happens when sick employees go to work and perform significantly short of full capacity — and risk spreading their viruses to other people.

5. Immunizations Are Offered in Many Locations

In addition to a doctor’s office, many immunizations are available at local pharmacies and walk-in clinics, among other places. You might even be able to offer in-house flu shots every year at your business.

6. Adults With Certain Health Conditions May Need Special Immunizations

Employees with heart disease, asthma, diabetes and renal disease should talk with their doctors about special immunizations they may need. For example, elderly people and people with heart disease often get a pneumonia vaccine that most people don’t regularly receive.

Knowing these basics about immunizations in the workplace can encourage your employees to stay updated on all their vaccines. Check out our visual guide to immunizations to learn more.

Immunization Rx Infographic 10 3 2018

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