Influenza in the Workplace
Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that spreads easily in workplaces. The best protection is immunization (flu shot). Workplaces can help employees and their families by organizing workplace influenza immunization clinics in the fall. It’s easier than you might think.
Know the facts about influenza and its impact on health and workplace absenteeism. Get informed by visiting credible websites such as
- immunize.ca – Influenza page
- The Public Health Agency of Canada: Influenza (external link)
- Health Authorities & Ministries of Health
Review the facts with management, employees and unions. Understanding how serious this disease is for many people, and how it can be prevented by immunization, will encourage acceptance of a workplace clinic as an important health initiative.
Step 3If you decide to hold a clinic, assign someone, or a small group, to organize it. If you have occupational health staff they can help organize and conduct your clinic. Or, you could hire a health care agency, such as a private nursing agency, to conduct your on-site clinic and assist with logistics. Look in your local yellow pages under ‘nurses’. Private agencies usually provide the vaccine, information and consent forms for a reasonable fee, usually less than $20 per person.
If you do not have a workplace clinic, find out about the public clinics held in your community and inform your employees, or refer them to their doctor. There may be a small fee for immunization in some cases, usually less than $20 per person. It’s a small price to pay for protection from influenza.
Advertise the clinic and distribute information to everyone. You can draft your own communication using the information found on the websites listed in Step 1. Also check with your local public health office for possible handouts.
Provide a comfortable, private location for the clinic, and perhaps some light refreshments if you can. You may want to set a percentage goal of employees to be immunized, and advertise your progress. A reasonable goal is 30% of employees in most workplaces; much higher in health care settings. Don’t forget to count how many were immunized at their doctor’s office, pharmacy or public clinic. It all counts!
Public Health Agency of Canada. Workplace Clinics. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/iif-vcg/fcyw_cvmt-eng.php (external link)