Flu Vaccination Program is Smart Business – Shortage of Vaccine is Predicted

Total Wellness Anticipated Demand, Has Plenty of Vaccine Available

OMAHA, Neb.--()--Omaha-based Total Wellness, a leading provider of corporate health and wellness services, encourages employers – both large and small – to follow recommendations made by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which encourages employees to receive flu shots this fall.

Anticipating the increased demand for the seasonal flu vaccine, Total Wellness placed orders from all manufacturers to ensure that the company could meet demand across the country. “Although other companies appear to be struggling to fill orders, Total Wellness has plenty of the serum to cover our clients’ needs,” said Alan Kohll, president of Total Wellness.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of orders for the vaccine,” said Kohll. “The demand for vaccinations began earlier this year, which is partially responsible for the impending shortage. Also, the media attention to both the seasonal flu and H1N1 has brought the issue to the forefront, and people are paying attention.”

“I have received countless phone calls from competitors and other providers of flu shots asking us to help fill their orders,” continued Kohll. “For example, one manufacturer of the vaccine greatly reduced its supply of the vaccine due to quality and bad lots. Another manufacturer is facing a slow distribution channel and Pharma companies producing the vaccine received low levels of order cancellations compared to previous year, thus they could not fill all orders. They plan on a certain percentage of cancellations and that has not happened.”

Seasonal flu and H1N1 flu cases are predicted to affect 30 percent of the U.S. population, which will no doubt have a detrimental effect on U.S. companies. In today’s economic climate, employers simply cannot afford the increased absenteeism and lost productivity.

“We’ve learned – and studies support – that providing vaccinations on-site to employees and their families increases vaccination rates and decreases rates of illness, leading to a healthier, more productive workplace,” said Kohll.

According to a study on the self-reported health of Americans aged 18 to 64, the flu is responsible for 200 million days of diminished productivity, 100 million days of bed disability, and 75 million days of work absence. Each episode of illness translates into five to six days of symptoms and between a half-day and five days of work missed.*

Add this to the impending H1N1 outbreak and these expenses are likely to increase significantly this flu season. “In addition to providing our onsite flu vaccination clinics,” said Kohll, we are encouraging our clients to mitigate the impact on the workplace by implementing measures such as allowing employees to work from home and encouraging them to stay home if they have flu-like symptoms.”

Regardless of the size of the business or the function or services provided, all employers should plan now to allow and encourage sick workers to stay home without fear of losing their jobs. The CDC recommends this strategy for all levels of severity.

More than half of U.S. companies host onsite flu shot events for their employees, yet only 25 to 30 percent participate. “Flu shots are a simple and cost effective method to prevent illnesses that impacts the bottom line through lost work time and reduced productivity,” said Kris Haugen, wellness program manager, corporate benefits for Wells Fargo. “It's also important to reduce barriers for receiving flu shots by offering this service conveniently at the workplace.”

Flu season in the U.S. is typically from November through April, with peak activity between late December and early March. Adults develop peak antibody protection about two weeks after vaccination. However, this year the CDC has revised its recommendations as to when to receive the seasonal flu shot to “as soon as available.”

Total Wellness is providing corporate flu vaccination clinics to thousands of companies in every state across the country. The company will secure H1N1 vaccine for its corporate clients as soon distribution begins in late October.

Increasing Participation in Workplace Flu Clinics:

Given the low rates of participation in flu clinics, Total Wellness offers the following recommendations.

  • Provide the flu vaccination program each year for consistency;
  • Offer employers the vaccination for free and encourage them to bring their families;
  • Secure senior level management support;
  • For shift workers, offer several clinics to reach all employees;
  • Provide flu shots in coordination with other events such as screenings and open-enrollment; and
  • Increase participation by online appointment scheduling tools like Employeesignup.com. Keep sign-ups simple.

* Sources:

  • Bridges CB, Thompson WW, Meltzer MI, et al. Effectiveness and cost-benefit of influenza vaccination of healthy working adults: A randomized controlled trial.
  • JAMA. Oct 4 2000;284(13):1655-1663.Kavet J. A perspective on the significance of pandemic influenza. Am J Public Health. Nov 1977;67(11):1063-1070.

About Total Wellness

Omaha, Neb.-based Total Wellness was established in 1998 as a specialized, national health and wellness provider. The company began by providing corporate on-site flu shots and has since expanded to provide extensive on-site wellness screenings, health risk assessments and corporate wellness consulting. To learn more, call 888-434-4358, or visit www.totalwellnesshealth.com.

Contacts

Gray Public Relations
Amy Gray, APR, 615-497-1799
agray@graypr.com
or
Stacy Brewer, 615-545-5255
sbrewer@graypr.com

Contacts

Gray Public Relations
Amy Gray, APR, 615-497-1799
agray@graypr.com
or
Stacy Brewer, 615-545-5255
sbrewer@graypr.com