As reliable as our trade winds, the seasonal flu is expected to sweep across the state of Hawaii with anticipated strikes hardest from October through March. Compounding the concerns of COVID-19 spikes, our health experts predict double trouble as we prepare to face two serious outbreaks at once. That means serious implications for businesses and their employees if COVID-19 and the flu coincide this winter.
In a typical year, the seasonal flu contributes to nearly 17 million lost workdays. Many Hawaii businesses are beginning to re-open their physical locations and bring employees back to work after the fits and starts of economic recovery forced by COVID-19 restrictions. A flu outbreak is not something we can afford and which could hinder the delicate balance we are desperately clinging to for progress. Even companies that have embraced a remote work platform cannot afford additional productivity losses should employees get sick.
The time is now for businesses to ramp up a workplace defense against the seasonal flu with proactive immunization opportunities for employees. At ALTRES our HR experts have led the charge this season by partnering with 5 Minute Pharmacy’s mobile flu immunization clinic to offer flu-shots for employees.
“Bringing the vaccine on-site makes the process extremely convenient for our team,” says Debbie Padello, Director of Operations at ALTRES.
Flu shots in a COVID-19 world
As we are well aware, vaccination is the single most effective method to prevent flu, and the CDC is urging everyone six months old and older to get vaccinated against this year’s flu. Boosting immunities and helping employees maintain strong defenses is important, especially with the dual-threat this season.
“Keeping our employees and community safe is our top priority. Improving flu vaccination rates among employees is one simple but effective step to take as we face both a global pandemic and flu season,” says John Fielding, Director of Risk Management at ALTRES.
Local pharmacy, 5 Minute Pharmacy has made a mobile workplace flu-shot administration program available making it simple for Oahu businesses to schedule on-site popup clinics for their employees. This mobile flu-clinic is free under almost all Hawaii insurance plans. This annual service is not new for the experienced team of nurses and pharmacists, but they are making an effort to increase availability in light of the added complexities brought on by COVID-19.
“We have worked to incorporate additional social distancing and preparation measures to safely administer flu vaccines for our clients,” says Derek Tengan, owner of 5 Minute Pharmacy. “In addition to our high standard of care, our staff have been trained to conduct on-site clinics as safely as possible to ensure COVID-19 precautions are observed,” explains Tengan. These measures include employer site visits prior to a clinic to identify optimal locations with maximum air circulation and social distancing opportunities.
Another option employers might consider is disseminating a flu vaccine voucher, which allows employees to receive a free flu shot at their local pharmacy. For local businesses that have opted to remain remote or that may not have the facilities to support an on-site clinic, vouchers are an easy solution to offer a supportive defense.
Additionally, there are multiple drive-through flu shot events available to the public that employers can promote to encourage vaccination. One of them being the “Drive Through to Beat the Flu” event held the first weekend of October at Kakaako Waterfront Park.
The CDC also provides multiple resources and print materials to help employers fight the flu. They recommend displaying posters about flu vaccination in break rooms, bathrooms, and other high-traffic areas.
Additional statewide flu clinic resources:
- Workplace Flu Shot Clinics (5 Minute Pharmacy)
- Workplace Flu Shot Clinics (Pharmacare)
- DoH Flu Vaccination Locator
- School Flu Shot Clinics Schedule
Have a question for one of our HR experts? To learn more about this issue or to schedule a free consultation on the advantages of human resources outsourcing, contact simplicityHR.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should first consult their attorney, accountant or adviser before acting upon any information in this article.