The 2020/2021 flu season will coincide with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. While we cannot yet vaccinate against COVID-19, safe and effective vaccinations for other infections, including the flu, are available, helping prevent two to three million deaths a year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people over the age of six months receive a flu vaccine. The vaccine can prevent the flu or reduce the severity of symptoms. And this year, it could help reduce the strain on a healthcare system already coping with a pandemic.
Despite remote working, employers still promote flu shots
In the midst of a pandemic and so many disruptions in Americans’ lives, it may be difficult to remember to get a flu shot. The pandemic may even cause concerns about whether to receive one at all.
Many employers are playing a role in encouraging employees to get flu shots this year. Pennsylvania-based health insurer Capital BlueCross is making it easier for employers to help employees get a flu shot, even if employees are working remotely.
Education consultants offer virtual sessions about flu prevention
Instead of traditional onsite visits, Capital BlueCross' health education consultants offer employers virtual education sessions for employees about flu prevention. The consultants explain the differences between the cold and the flu, when to seek medical attention and key prevention techniques.
The company is also providing a toolkit to employers to begin raising awareness about the need for flu vaccines, with messages for launching at specific times throughout flu season.
The plan mirrors recommendations from the CDC, detailed in the most recent report from Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices: “Providers should offer influenza vaccine routinely, and organized vaccination campaigns should continue throughout the influenza season, including after influenza activity has begun in the community.”
A plan to raise awareness
Capital BlueCross' support for employers includes messaging about prevention, then a focus on encouraging employees who can to get the flu shot. If sites aren’t available at the workplace, employers are provided with resources they can email employees or post on internal websites about where to get a shot in the right setting that works for them. Next, Capital BlueCross will equip employers with tools to help employees keep focused on healthy behaviors, even after they’ve received the flu vaccine. Those tools include using the insurer’s Nurse Line and telehealth options and access to Capital BlueCross' online health education resources. Later, the prevention message continue, but with an emphasis on encouraging others – coworkers, friends, family members—to get a flu vaccine as well.
Capital BlueCross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.