Vaccination in general still has some scepticism in it. Some individuals are not inclined to vaccination advocacies. Several beliefs, myths and factors affect each person’s compliance with getting the flu shot. Causes of non-compliance to flu vaccination include the following but not limited to; individual fear of injection, fear of getting an actual flu illness from the vaccine, avoidance of expenses (doctor’s fees, vaccine and administration fees, etc.), preference for “natural” or healthy diet and lifestyle as protection from diseases, and myths on flu or influenza as not a serious disease
Vaccines have been recognized to protect individuals against specific diseases, flu-among others.
Prior to the discovery and development of vaccines, thousands of people were affected by diseases which are now preventable. In the early years, afflictions would leave patients with lifetime complications and deformities, furthermore, in some unfortunate cases, death ensues. Disease breakouts and pandemics were common and highly feared because there were no vaccines yet that prevents them. History shows that from 1918 to 1919, in Australia, the Spanish influenza pandemic affected 2 million of its population, and claimed the lives of 15,000 people.
In light of this, workplace flu vaccination is immensely important. As the vaccine does not only protect the vaccinated individual from flu but also protects others around him/her.
According to the World Health Organization, seasonal flu affects around five to fifteen per cent of the worldwide population annually. In Australia alone, each year, statistics have shown the following;
- There are approximately 1,500 to 3,500 deaths brought about by influenza or flu and its complications.
- Flu-related hospitalizations reaching to 18,000 cases.
- Health care costs of influenza in Australia reach $18 million annually.
- Flu affects workplace attendance and productivity resulting in billions of annual economic burden from seasonal influenza.
- 10% of absenteeism in the workplace is related to affliction from influenza.
- People who suffer from chronic conditions such as asthma, emphysema, etc., have 40 times of risk of death brought by influenza.
Seasonal influenza or flu is highly contagious and communicable. It is easily spread by coughing and sneezing, and transmission via an inanimate object such as used tissue, handkerchief, and passing of virus through dirty hands and everything that it touches. Complications arise from it specially, if not promptly treated, resulting in pneumonia, asthma exacerbations, etc. Flu and its complications can be fatal to the vulnerable or “at risks” groups such as elderlies, infants and immune-compromised patients.
In the workplace, there is what is called the “Presenteeism Mentality.” Most employees would go to work despite being sick from the flu. According to studies, the primary cause of this attitude is an apprehension that tasks will not be accomplished in their absence. Some employees have feelings of guilt of not being able to report for work. Others, however, have economic reasons, such as having no or minimal sick leave pays fear of losing a job and fear of angering their boss.
It is almost a common experience that most employees would go to work even if they are in the early stages of the flu. Such habits, exposes the entire workforce to the virus or ailment, especially those who are in close proximity to the sick person, making them at high risk of acquiring the disease too. Needless to say, workplace flu vaccination is very crucial.
It has been repeatedly said that the flu vaccine is the single most effective way of prevention in acquiring seasonal influenza. Therefore neither indifference nor apathy should rule in matters of corporate flu vaccination. Concerned parties should conduct health teachings related to influenza and flu jabs through a meeting or a symposium. Whether in small organizations or big companies, each must take part in his/her responsibility for health prudence.
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