How to Encourage Workers to get Flu Shots
Flu season is here and the best protection from getting sick is to get vaccinated. But many people don’t because, say, they don’t have the time, think the vaccine will actually give them the flu, are afraid of shots, etc.
As an employer, it’s in your best interests for as many of your employees as possible to be vaccinated against the flu. One way to make it easy for workers to get flu shots is by -holding an in-house flu shot clinic.
Of course, providing flu vaccines in the workplace doesn’t guarantee workers will take advantage of it. So here are some tips from the CDC in the US on how you can promote seasonal flu shots when you’re holding a vaccination clinic:
- Get senior management buy-in for the flu vaccination clinic.
- Frame getting employees vaccinated as a business priority and create a goal aligned with this effort.
- Identify a flu vaccination coordinator and/or team with defined roles and responsibilities. OHS personnel or workplace safety staff may lead these efforts. The planning process should include input from employees and union representatives, if needed.
- Schedule the clinic to maximize staff participation.
- Gauge need and demand among staff for flu vaccination. Provide sufficient and accessible flu vaccination in as many business locations as possible.
- Ask managers and supervisors to let workers attend onsite flu vaccination clinic as part of their work day and without having to “go off of the clock.”
- Consider offering flu vaccination to employees’ families as well.
- Set a goal and help show employees how their participation matters. Each year, try to improve upon the percentage of employees vaccinated.
- Use incentives to increase participation, such as offering providing refreshments at the clinic or holding a contest for the department with the highest percentage of vaccinated employees.
- Promote the clinic with posters about the importance of flu vaccination posted in break rooms, cafeterias and other high traffic areas; and an article in company communications (such as newsletters, intranet, emails, portals, etc.) about the clinic and flu prevention.
- Provide a comfortable and convenient location for the clinic. Consider the space demands and need for privacy.
- Set an example by encouraging managers and business leaders to get vaccinated first.
Even if you don’t provide a workplace flu shot clinic, you can still encourage employees to get vaccinated elsewhere by:
- Being flexible. Establish policies that allow for employees to take an hour or two to seek flu vaccinations in the community.
- Partnering with nearby pharmacies or clinics to arrange for employees to get vaccinated. For example, if your company shares a building, shopping center or office park with other employers, see if the property manager will host a flu vaccination clinic for all of the tenants’ employees.
- Using promotional posters/flyers to advertise locations in the community that offer seasonal flu vaccinations. Display posters about the flu vaccination in break rooms, cafeterias and other high traffic areas.
- Posting articles in company newsletters, intranet, emails, portals, etc. about the importance of flu vaccination and where to get the vaccine in the community.
- Encouraging flu vaccination for employees’ families by distributing information for them to take home.
The OHS Insider’s Pandemic & Flu Planning Compliance Centre has lots of information on your duty under the OHS laws to protect workers from the flu and tools to help you do so, including this infographic you can hang in your workplace to educate workers on the flu and flu prevention tips.