Blue Shield of California
COVID-19 Resource Center for Employers, Plan Sponsors, Brokers and Consultants

B2B General

September 29, 2020 - 3 min read

Protecting employees from influenza during the pandemic

This year's flu season is unlike any in recent memory. Here's how you can help your employees stay healthy.

This year, getting the flu shot has become a key component in the fight to keep Californians healthy. As the COVID-19 pandemic enters what state officials have described as its second wave, vaccination against the seasonal flu can help protect the wellbeing of your employees and keep your business up and running.

Encourage flu shots for all employees

COVID-19 and the flu share similar symptoms. Vaccines can greatly reduce the chance of employees contracting the flu, or from experiencing complications. This can help ensure a more accurate diagnosis and treatment of any apparent symptoms.

Most fully insured plans provide access to $0 flu shots at a variety of convenient locations.*

*  For most plans, members’ cost is $0, as a covered preventive care benefit under the Affordable Care Act.
Some exceptions apply for select ASO groups. Contact your Blue Shield representative for more details.

COVID-19 vs. Flu Symptoms

It can be hard to differentiate between the symptoms of COVID-19 and those of the flu. That’s why it’s important to get the flu vaccine this season. If you’re sick, stay home and stay contact with doctor. Make a virtual appointment, if possible and describe your syptoms to your doctor so they can help craft a plan to get the testing and care you need?

COVID-19FluIncubation period2-14 days1-4 daysSymptom onsetGradualSuddenNew loss of taste or smell✓xFever and chills✓✓Cough✓✓Shortness of breath✓✓Fatigue✓✓Muscle or body aches✓✓Headache✓✓Sore throat✓✓Nasal congestion or runny nose✓✓Nausea or vomiting✓✓Diarrhea✓✓

Ways leadership can support employees

Your leadership team should use the latest scientific information available to support messaging in company-wide emails or comments that are made during on-site or interactive all-hands meetings.

Unfortunately, misinformation about the effectiveness of vaccines and the coronavirus is widespread. As a result, some employees may be confused about what is true and what isn’t.

Here's a helpful resource you can use when thinking of ways to address common myths about the flu vaccine with your employees.

One common myth about the flu shot is that getting one will cause someone to get sick. This is false. Also, many individuals believe that getting the flu shot once all they need for the rest of their lives. This also is not true.

While the flu shot will not protect your employees from COVID-19, many of the same efforts that help reduce the spread of the coronavirus are effective against the seasonal flu. Frequent hand washing combined with not touching one's face, nose, and eyes while in public are proven ways to not catch or spread influenza.

Lead with empathy—and urgency

The most recent scientific research shows that individuals can contract seasonal flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

While not as deadly as the coronavirus, the seasonal flu affects thousands of Californians every year and can result in extended hospitalizations or worse.

According to official estimates from the Centers for Disease Control, 50,000 people in the United States die from the flu each year.

As your leadership team takes steps to encourage employees to get their flu shots, be sure to emphasize how much you value their total wellbeing.

Along with protecting themselves and their families, getting the flu shot can help ease the burden on neighborhood health centers and emergency rooms as an expected second wave of coronavirus infections emerges.

Regardless of how your business moves forward, recommending that every employee make getting the flu shot a priority this fall will go a long way toward protecting their fellow team members, their families, and their communities.

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