The Flu Shot and Health Promotion in the Workspace

For many Americans, a flu shot can be more of a luxury than a necessity.

  • An estimated 5.4 million American workers have lost their health insurance between February and May 2020.
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that 27 million Americans have lost coverage in the pandemic; that study took into account family members of the insured.
  • The Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation project that by the end of 2020, 10.1 million people will no longer have employer-sponsored health insurance or coverage that was tied to a job they lost because of the pandemic.

The old saying, “Health is wealth,” is truer today than ever.

Given 2020’s hardships – specifically the COVID pandemic – it’s overwhelmingly more and more difficult to stay physically and financially healthy. With flu season just around the corner, employers must prepare for another set of challenges, and now is a good time to start encouraging employees to get vaccinated in order to keep themselves, team members, customers, and loved ones safe during this unexpectedly crucial year for healthcare.

Before the pandemic (which may feel like years to some), employee wellness programs typically emphasized mental health and offered healthy snacks, gym memberships, or even a nap room to avoid burnout. But times have changed. Whereas flexible work was once a perk, it’s now a necessity, and what employees need more to get through flu season is flexible spending because from what many have learned the hard way, it’s better to be burnt out than bankrupt.

For essential workers, working from home is not an option, and they can’t afford to take a day off in this economy. Instead, these brave heroes will be on the frontlines interacting with several people, exchanging currency, and commuting. It’s also likely that they’re not able to isolate themselves when they’re at home. Considering all of these obstacles, it’s essential that they get a flu shot to avoid any unnecessary health risks.

What employees need more is flexible spending because, from what many have learned the hard way, it’s better to be burnt out than bankrupt.

Currently, the CDC is recommending that everyone get their flu shot by the end of October for maximum protection, but to be safe, they’re also suggesting that flu season continue to February. That’s 5 months of risk we’re looking at, so employers need to seriously consider the increasing importance of employee health and how to make the flu vaccine accessible to their entire workforce. 

Although there’s been progress in the fight against COVID-19, doctors and scientists are unsure if positive cases will go up as the weather gets colder. Since other parts of the United States are still working to flatten their curve, a sudden surge of flu and COVID patients could potentially undo all the hard work and progress that has been made up to this point. [knock on wood]

Zoom Influenza-Chart-Infographic-high-res.jpg
Estimated Range of Annual Burden of Flu in the U.S. from 2010 – 2020, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)

Flu shots range in price. For the insured, they can be free, or maybe even just the cost of a needle. But for those without insurance (a number which rose by 5.4 million people between February and May), this potentially life saving medicine can cost an average of $40 – sometimes even more, depending on a patient’s severity. 

Yet it’s no surprise that this amount of money may not be readily available for the average essential worker. With recurring bills and common expenses, like rent and groceries, the cost of a flu shot can be more of a luxury than a necessity.

That’s where PayActiv comes in. With Earned Wage Access, employees can use the money they’ve already earned when they need it to provide financial flexibility to deal with life’s ups, downs, and unknowns. After an employee works their hours, they’re able to use PayActiv to move a portion of their earned wages to their bank account or card, pay bills, or even, get vaccinated.

With Earned Wage Access, employees can use the money they’ve already earned when they need it to provide financial flexibility to deal with life’s ups, downs, and unknowns. 

Additionally, PayActiv also offers employees prescription discounts, so they can save on the flu vaccine. In fact, a number of medications can be found within PayActiv’s “Save” feature, including Fluad, Flucelvax, and Fluconazole. With these savings, employers can reduce the financial stress that comes with health care costs, so employees can focus on their jobs. And studies show that getting vaccinated reduces flu illness, doctors’ visits, and missed work.  

The key point here is that getting ahead of the flu season will help protect your company’s most important asset – your employees. When their employers actively seek to improve employee health, they feel good, and business thrives. And in doing so, you’re ultimately helping prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed this winter. 

Now is an opportune time to connect with your employees to fully understand the importance of staying healthy this year in comparison to previous ones. PayActiv is here to help your business get through this. With Early Wage Access, there’s no financial reason not to get vaccinated, and with PayActiv’s prescription discounts, you save money and lives. Learn more at PayActiv.com.


Eligibility for ACA Health Coverage Following Job Loss, May 13, 2020
https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/eligibility-for-aca-health-coverage-following-job-loss/

Millions Have Lost Health Insurance in Pandemic-Driven Recession, July 13, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/13/us/politics/coronavirus-health-insurance-trump.html

Where to Get Cheap Flu Shots: Walmart vs. CVS vs. Costco and More, September 14, 2020
https://blog.cheapism.com/flu-shot-cost-cvs-walgreens-walmart/#slide=6

Some Workers Face Cutoff in Health Insurance, September 28, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/28/health/covid-19-health-insurance.html

4 tips to encourage employees to get a flu shot, September 29, 2020
https://hrexecutive.com/4-tips-to-encourage-employees-to-get-a-flu-shot/

Disease Burden of Influenza, October 5, 2020 https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html

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