The U.S. is “at risk of a potentially severe flu season” in 2021-22, according to the CDC. The best defense—just as it is with COVID-19—is vaccination, which public health experts urge for almost all people 6 months and older, starting now. But new polling shows that while most people acknowledge that flu shots provide the best protection, only 42% of adults ages 18-64 intend to get one. Giving in to “vaccine fatigue” is risky for employers, however.
Health-related absenteeism nearly doubles at the peak of a severe flu season, compared to the lowest time of year. Faced with the current labor market challenges and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, employers should take straightforward steps to educate and encourage their employees to get their routine flu vaccination—even as you do the same for COVID-19. This Flu Season Employer Toolkit will help your business answer questions unique to a flu season in the midst of a pandemic and take action to protect the health of your workers and customers.
As businesses continue to encourage and even require COVID-19 vaccines, they should also encourage employees to get their annual flu shot. You can make it easier for employees by taking one or more of the following actions:
Last year, flu transmission was kept at historically low levels when many people were social distancing, wearing masks, and staying home. As a result, we have less natural immunity from the flu this year. The flu shot is our best protection.
Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. The CDC has more information on how the symptoms and contagiousness compare.
Yes. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, you may need a test to tell you if you are sick with one or the other, or both.
Because COVID-19 is still a relatively new illness, there is little data on how flu illness affects the risk of getting COVID-19. We do know that people can be infected with flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 at the same time. Getting vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19 provides the best protection from both viruses.
No, the flu shot will not protect against COVID-19.
No, there is no evidence for this.
Yes. You can get them together, usually in separate arms.
Yes, typically, the flu shot reduces the risk of getting sick with the flu by 40-60%. It’s even more effective in preventing serious flu-related complications like hospitalization and death, most of which occur in people who are not vaccinated.
The side effects remain constant from year to year. The most common side effects from flu shots are soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. Some people also report having a low fever, headache, and muscle aches after getting their flu shot.
Print handouts from Vaccinate Your Family
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