As thousands of health and social care workers take up a government flu vaccination programme, so corporate healthcare providers have launched their seasonal flu programmes.
A government source recently announced that more than 340,000 healthcare workers have taken up the flu vaccine on offer, meaning that 36.8% of frontline healthcare workers had influenza vaccinations in September and October 2014.
The aim of the programme is to protect vulnerable patients and the elderly from infection from health and social care workers who might catch flu this winter.
However, corporate healthcare providers such as Boots, Bupa and other companies say that a corporate programme where employees are offered flu vaccinations for free, often using vouchers or by means of a nurse visiting the premises, can offer a preventive measure to help employees avoid catching seasonal flu this winter.
Seasonal flu is said to be one of the biggest causes of short-term illness affecting employees, being highly contagious and affecting people of all ages.
Healthcare providers claim that offering flu vaccinations to employees can help to:
decrease workplace absence
promote a healthier workplace
improve the wellbeing of employees, driving employee engagement.
According to the Co-operative Pharmacy, a total of 7.6 million working days are lost in the UK because of flu each year, costing the British economy £1.35 billion.
A survey of more than 3000 people by the pharmacy chain revealed flu accounted for the most number of days lost (1141) among short-term illnesses. After flu, the next two most common reasons for absence were colds (804 days) and stomach upsets (658 days).