SURVEY SAYS: Do You Offer Flu Vaccinations at Your Workplace?

November 10, 2005 ( - Between last year's flu vaccine shortage and this year's bird flu pandemic angst, flu concerns have certainly gotten a lot of press. This week, we asked readers if they were sponsoring flu vaccinations in their workplace - and if they would be getting a shot.

A whopping 81.5% of this week’s respondents are making flu vaccinations available – some for free, some for a modest co-pay, some are just providing the facilities and time off to get them.  “Did it, got it,” one said.   However, one noted, “Sponsored and already given 3 weeks ago.   And yes, I got my shot.   It cost 50% more that I’ve paid in the past, though.   Naturally!” 

Ironically, however, only about half ( 52% ) are planning to avail themselves of the benefit.   Among this group was the reader who said, “We had our flu shots at work two weeks ago, and I was one of the first on line (have to set a good example) as HR Director.”   Another said, “Even my husband (who never participates in anything proactive when it comes to his health), has agreed to receive a flu shot this year.”   We heard from a number of expectant parents this week, including the reader who said, “Yes, I will be getting a flu shot but not by choice. I am due January 1st with my first child and my OB is requiring both my husband and myself to get “shot”. It was the first flu shot for both of us.”

“Contrary to what some say, usually the male macho type, flu shots are not for sissies.   It is really important for people who travel a lot but more importantly, people should think of their families should something happen to one of the parents that could be prevented.   I am truly amazed that there are so many folks who tout their ‘I’m not getting one of those, I don’t need it”, like a Red Badge of Courage,” cautioned one reader.


But that was a voice in the wilderness this week.   Among those who have the option but aren’t planning to act on it were comments like the following:

“We are sponsoring vaccinations, but I will not be getting one because I personally do not believe in their effectiveness.   I only had the flu once in the last 10 years or so and it was the one year that I actually received a shot.”

“Being a good employer, our office does support the flu vaccination.   Not that I will ever get one!   The only people that I see getting a vaccination are the ones who are sick all the time.   I have never had one, and I rarely ever get sick.  

“Yes, our workplace is sponsoring free flu shots….   but they’ve scheduled them for Nov. 22 — two days before Thanksgiving — when many of us (including me) will be on vacation.   Makes you wonder if this is yet another cost cutting measure.”

“My company sponsors flu shots, but I will NOT be getting one.   Rotten eggs, live viruses and mercury – yuck!   The last time the flu swept through my office, those of us who did not get the shot, did not get the flu.   During flu season I take lots of vitamin C, Echinacea, and other herbs to support the immune system, wash my hands often, and don’t allow anyone with a cold or the flu to come near my office.   I haven’t had the flu or even a cold in several years.   If sick people would quit coming to work and just stay home, we could probably avoid any kind of flu epidemic.”  

“We won’t be sponsoring flu shots this year because fear of lawsuits. You never know if someone will have an adverse reaction, or if a vaccine is not good, or if a needle breaks off in someone’s arm leading to “lost wages,” “medical bills” or creating “psychological harm.”   You know what they say about good deeds and good intentions.”

However, more than half of the firms that have, or are still planning to offer flu vaccinations are suffering from an unanticipated problem – a lack of vaccine.  “If I could, I would get the shot. I can’t find anybody who still has the vaccine in the Metro Orlando area!,” said one.  “We had a flu vaccination clinic scheduled for this Friday but it has been canceled because the clinic has not received enough vaccine yet.   They keep telling us there’s no shortage, but it’s not here yet.   We’re supposed to reschedule,” noted another.   “We will be sponsoring a flu shot clinic and I do plan on getting a shot, offered another.  “Since first setting up the clinic, we have already had to delay it due to lack of vaccine.   What happened to the promises that this year there would be plenty of flu shots for everyone?”  Another said, “Unfortunately, we could not give them last year due to the shortages of vaccine and this year is also looking doubtful.   We are on a waiting list.”

But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who noted, “As popular as the free flu shots have always been, I do recall a prior supervisor that commented “she didn’t take the flu shot because getting the flu was the only week of the year she could take off guilt free”.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!