Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programs
Healthier Workforce Bulletin

Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Vaccination Programs
Seasonal flu affects 5-20% of the population annually and may account for 10-12% of employee sick days each year, either for themselves or for ill family members.  The flu is the most commonly occurring vaccine-preventable disease, and annual vaccination has shown to be the most effective method for preventing and limiting the illness. Therefore, the CDC recommends employers offer influenza vaccination opportunities at their workplace or consider allowing time during the workday to get vaccinated off-site. 

For the Employer
Even when vaccinations are free and conveniently provided at the workplace, participation rates can be lower than ideal. Offering incentives, providing a choice between injection and nasal spray, and expanding vaccination to immediate family members are effective strategies shown to increase participation in a vaccination program. The CDC and other professional societies also recommend expanding the flu vaccination season beyond the traditional season and offer opportunities between October and May. Read more about workplace flu vaccination programs and access resources for promoting vaccination to employees here.
Featured Resource
Make it Your Business to Fight the Flu: A Toolkit for Businesses and Employers – A toolkit developed by the CDC that provides information and strategies for promoting the 2013-2014 seasonal flu vaccine. Access the toolkit, additional resources and links here.

Supporting Literature

  • Lee BY, Bailey RR, Wiringa AE, Afriyie, A, Wateska, AR, Smith, KJ, Zimmerman RK. Economics of employer-sponsored workplace vaccination to prevent pandemic and seasonal influenza. Vaccine. July 2010; 28: 5952-5959.
  • Nowalk MP, Lin CJ, Toback SL, Rousulp MD, Eby C, Raymund M, Zimmerman RK. Improving influenza vaccination rates in the workplace: A randomized trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. March 2013; 38(3): 237-246.
  • Ofstead CL, Sherman BW, Wetzler HP, Dirlam Langlay AM, Mueller NJ, Ward JM, Ritter DR, Poland GA. Effectiveness of worksite interventions to increase influenza vaccination rates among employees and families. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. February 2013; 55(2): 156-163.
  • Poland GA, Johnson DR. Increasing influenza vaccination rates: The need to vaccinate throughout the entire influenza season. The American Journal of Medicine. July 2008; 121 (7b): S3-S10.

Policy Update
Final report released from the University of Iowa Public Policy Center to the Iowa Department of Public Health.  The study concludes that many potential users of the new Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as Exchanges, “face a series of challenges with current levels of insurance, lack of familiarity with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and unease in using an online system to choose a health insurance plan. The vast majority of those surveyed anticipated needing some or “a lot” of help with the new system.”  Read the full report here.

Nomination Period Open for 2014 Corridor Worksite Wellness Awards
Employers from Linn & Johnson County, IA are invited to apply for the 2014 Corridor Worksite Wellness Awards. Worksites receive a free, onsite assessment developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and resources to help improve their programs. Scores are based on how their efforts align with best practices in worksite wellness. Winners will be announced at the Corridor Business Journal’s Annual Healthcare Summit on February 14, 2014. The nomination period is open now until November15th and employers can self-nominate.  Download the nomination form or view past winners here.  For more information, contact or 319-892-6065.

Employer Tip of the Week
Tips related to employee safety, health and wellness will be shared weekly through Facebook, Twitter and the HWCE website. Like us on
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Upcoming Webinars & Events
A more detailed listing with registration links is available through our online calendar of events.

* Wellness Council of Iowa Wellness Huddle 
October 30, 2013 from 7:30am-12:00pm at Mercy Cedar Rapids’ Hallagan Education Center
        -Connect with industry leaders and peers on core prevention strategies.
        -See event schedule and registration information here
*  Healthy Lung Expo
        -November 8th, 2013 from 9:00am-2:00pm at the West Des Moines Sheraton
        -Learn the latest trends, resources and research surrounding lung health.
        -Agenda and registration information available here

* Health Promotion Model for Small Businesses-The Healthy Small Business Pilot
        -Free webinar hosted by; November 21, 2013; 1:30-2:30pm ET; Register here.
* Live Healthy America 10-Week Wellness Challenge
        -January 27-April 4, 2014; Registration opens December 2013
* CBJ Health Care Summit & Corridor Worksite Wellness Awards Luncheon
        -February 14, 2014 from 7:30am-1:30pm; Hotel at Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids, IA
* 2014 Fight for Air Climb
Sunday, March 16, 2014 in downtown Des Moines, IA. 
        -More information here

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Please note that the “links” to other informational sources are provided for your professional development.  The HWCE does not take responsibility for information contained beyond the files administered by the Center and does not represent the endorsement of commercial products.

  The Healthier Workforce Center for Excellence (HWCE) is one of four TWH™ Centers of Excellence funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Our mission is to improve the health of workers in Iowa and nationally through integrated health promotion and health protection research, collaboration with peer institutions, and dissemination of successful interventions.
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