Flick through your social media and you’re bound to stumble over a friend asking if it’s OK to put the heating on now. But a much bigger question at this time of the year is whether you should have the annual flu jab
Preparing for the flu season is a serious business. Last winter an estimated 16,000 people died from the virus and many more were laid up with the fever, chills, aches and coughs symptomatic of influenza. Public Health England reports thousands see their GP and tens of thousands are hospitalised by the flu every year.
The Government starts its planning way back in Spring, issuing a letter detailing the national immunisation programme. Flu vaccinations are offered by the NHS to key adult risk groups, including those over 65, people with pre-existing health conditions such as coronary heart disease and asthma. But, of course, whilst it can be much more serious for those vulnerable groups, anyone can catch the flu.
The vaccine itself is different every year. It is developed after the World Health Organisation determines which strain of the virus is likely to be dominant then a vaccine manufactured to serve the whole of the northern hemisphere.
But it’s not just the make-up but take-up of the vaccine that’s important in preventing viral spread. That’s because the vaccination programme fosters ‘herd immunity’. In short this means that fewer people being susceptible to the virus makes its transmission that much harder. So those who get the flu jab, can also be protecting those that don’t.
This concept of herd immunity is one that makes a case for companies to introduce their own flu vaccination programmes. If one member of staff catches flu, what are the chances of a domino effect which increases your sickness absence rates, hits productivity and undermines your ability to deliver superior customer service?
Ensuring your staff are protected could also give you something of a feel-good factor, knowing that your company’s efforts are also promoting herd immunity and protecting the wider community.
There are two ways you can introduce a programme. Private healthcare providers like BUPA will offer a standalone service, with either a nurse visiting your business to administer jabs or arranging for your staff to visit a partner pharmacy.
Another arguably easier and more consistent method is to introduce a wider vaccination and inoculation programme via a business health insurance cash plan. This gives the benefit of a standard procedure being in place each year delivered at relatively low cost – maybe just 20 or 30 pence per person per month on top of the usual cost of a cash plan.
But you need plan ahead as incorporation of a vaccination and inoculation programme must be done when you take out or renew a cash plan. They cannot be introduced mid-term.
To discuss corporate vaccination programmes, the wider benefits of company medical insurance or business health cash plans, call our experts on 01254 504910.