Influenza—or “flu”—season is more than just an inconvenience that makes employees miserable. It can have a significant impact on business operations and costs. While the flu is often mistaken for a bad cold, it can be much more severe, with symptoms that include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. The flu typically lasts longer than a cold—as much as a week. And no one wants their valued employees to get sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimate that every year U.S. businesses lose 17 million work days to the flu, translating to approximately $7 billion in sick days and lost productivity.
What does that mean to your company? Let’s say you have an employee who makes $60,000. The cost of just one of that person’s work days lost to the flu is $230. Over the course of a five-day business week, your company would lose $1,150.
Worse, if your employees are largely unvaccinated for the flu, that one sick employee could infect many others. Many will also need to stay home additional days if children get ill. But employers have an opportunity to help prevent their employees from flu-related misery by providing flu vaccines.
A shot of prevention
As more employers focus on building a culture of wellness in the workplace, illness prevention is an important focus. While a flu shot clinic certainly benefits the employer, it also protects employees, their family members, and the greater community from illness.
“At Rite Aid, one of the ways we promote a culture of wellness is by protecting our own employees and their families with free flu shots. And by managing flu shot clinics with other employers who value employee wellness, we get closer to reaching our goal of a flu-free community,” says Karen Staniforth, senior vice president of pharmacy at Rite Aid, who has more than 30 years of experience in retail pharmacy.
Employees are less likely to get a flu shot if it’s not convenient. Rite Aid works with employers to make getting a flu shot as easy as possible for your team members through on-site clinics and vaccine vouchers.
At an on-site clinic, a certified immunizing pharmacist comes to your business and immunizes employees who wish to receive the vaccine. Employees simply walk down the hall and get their shot in about five to 10 minutes, versus scheduling an appointment, taking time off work, sitting in a waiting room, and then driving back to work.
If an on-site clinic doesn’t make sense for all of your employees, Rite Aid also provides flu shot vouchers. Remote workers or those not in the office on the day of the clinic can walk in to any of Rite Aid’s more than 2,400 pharmacies nationwide to redeem the voucher and get a vaccine from a trained pharmacist. No appointment is needed.
In 2018, Rite Aid managed more than 3,000 on-site flu clinics for companies of all sizes in communities all over the country. Many of those clinics were at companies which hosted in prior years and saw firsthand the value in bringing flu shots directly to their employees.
Plan now to beat the flu
With so much time and money at stake, the time to plan a workplace flu shot clinic is much sooner than you think.
“It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to build immunity in the body, so employers should consider hosting a flu shot clinic in September or October to help protect their employees and the community from the very start of the season,” Staniforth says.
That means getting a flu shot clinic on the books now so you can get the dates and times that work best for you and your employees. Rite Aid, one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains, starts working with organizations to plan as early as May.
Protect your employees, their families, and your community by scheduling an on-site flu shot clinic. Call (855) 882-5951 or visit riteaid.com/shieldmyworkforce.