Many people forego the flu shot because they think they’ve waited too long. It’s mid-season, and they believe they might as well wait it out and risk their chances of coming down with the flu.
For employers, the same thing can happen. Maybe you’re calling around to different vendors, and you keep being told it’ll be a four to six-week wait. You’re wondering if it’s too late to bring in corporate flu shots this year.
The answer? It’s not too late!
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the flu vaccine should continue to be offered to unvaccinated people as long as influenza viruses are circulating. While flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, influenza activity usually peaks between December and February. The CDC also notes that as long as flu viruses are spreading, it’s not too late to get a vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones.
So, while a late flu shot isn’t necessarily ideal, it’s better than no flu shot at all. Let’s take a more detailed look at what to expect when offering late flu shots to employees:
The Two-Week Window
A flu shot usually takes about two weeks to kick in. This means that it takes your body about two weeks to be fully protected against the flu. During that time, your body has to recognize the virus that’s in the vaccine, activate your immune system, and build up antibodies to fight the flu if you come into contact with it.
Because of that two-week lead-time, if you offer flu shots to your employees later rather than sooner, you’re leaving a bit more risk on the table. Your employees might get the flu shot right when you start to notice the flu spreading, but they might not be fully protected until two weeks into the outbreak.
Essentially, there’s a two-week window when your employees might still get sick, even after they’ve received the flu shot. The good news, though, is that their flu shot has kick-started their immune system during that two-week period.
This means if an employee gets a flu shot and then contracts the flu four days later, their immune system and body are ahead of the game. They’ve been working to fight the flu since they received the shot, so they most likely won’t have as severe of an illness as they could have without the vaccine.
Ultimately, experts will always say that any flu shot is better than no flu shot at all. No matter what type of shot is available, or the timing you get it, your best option is always to get the flu shot.
That’s because the flu shot is the single best way to protect yourself from the flu during flu season. The flu virus is known for its unpredictability and high attack rates. Even a late flu shot gives you and your employees a fighting chance.
So, maybe you forgot to set up a flu shot clinic this year. Or time just got away from you. Or maybe you’re starting to see some cases of the flu earlier than usual in your workplace. We want to let you know that it’s not too late to offer flu shots!
You can still set up a flu shot clinic for your employees, and it can be incredibly helpful. Even if it only alleviates some of the symptoms – rather than helping to avoid the flu altogether – your sick employees will get back to work much quicker than they would without a flu shot.
Have you set up your employee flu shot clinic yet to help protect your employees? If not, what are you waiting for? Leave your name below, and we’ll have an account representative reach out to you as soon as possible!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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