Flu vaccination successfully reduces illness during the winter, and the illness can sometimes be very serious. In the UK, attitudes to flu are muddled by the fact that the vaccine was traditionally only offered free to people in designated “high-risk” categories – usually people at special risk from complications (check with your GP to see if you are entitled to free vaccination).
In other countries, the situation is very different. In the USA, for example, annual vaccination for healthy working adults is very much a routine, and is widely regarded as an important health benefit. Key workers, highly paid staff, those working in direct contact with the general public or in public places, staff in large open plan offices (i.e. sharing the same air) and staff who simply have caring employers, are among those generally offered free vaccination in the workplace.
While there is certainly a benefit to employers in helping staff stay healthy, flu vaccination protects your leisure time and your family as well, and not just your ability to work. No one enjoys being sick and having the flu is not an enjoyable alternative to work and so it benefits everyone to remain healthy. Workplaces are investing in the health of their staff more and more as they realise this is a major staff benefit that has a positive impact on work and personal life. Don’t forget, peak flu season begins at Christmas, and ends around the Easter break. No one benefits from sickness ruining these special holidays.