7 ways to maximise uptake of workplace flu vaccination10 March , 2020
From a business perspective, flu vaccination is a numbers game. The more people who are vaccinated – the better protected your employees and customers/clients, and ultimately, your business.
Every vaccinated employee is not only directly protected, but protects many others by becoming less likely to spread flu at work. This is especially important to protect employees who do not get vaccinated – including those who can’t for medical reasons.
Therefore, your workplace flu vaccination program is only as effective as your efforts to promote and facilitate participation. Fortunately, there are many ways to encourage your employees to get vaccinated, and make vaccination is easy and accessible.
Make getting vaccinated as easy as possible for your employees. Convenience is one of the biggest barriers to vaccination, and availability of vaccination at work is a strong predictor of uptake. This includes having an easy-to-use booking system, with no need to wait in large queues. It also means bringing vaccination to your employees where they are, to reduce the barrier posed by travel. It also means making available a variety of vaccination times and/or locations (where relevant), so employees with different roles, schedules and responsibilities (e.g. working night shift, working remotely, working around school pick-up times) have easy access. Finally, it means ensuring any administration and/or paperwork for participants is minimal and simple. We can provide a convenient program for your employees that ticks all these boxes.
Ensure those who are perceived as leaders (e.g. board, executive, managers, supervisors and/or staff representatives) are overtly positive, supportive and encouraging about vaccination and its importance. Leaders can set an example by being vaccinated themselves (and making a point of this), encouraging others to get vaccinated, and making it easy for those who report to them to get vaccinated (e.g. by ensuring their work tasks are covered while they attend for vaccination).
Allocate willing employees to be peer flu vaccination champions to encourage their peers to get vaccinated. Peer champions provide relatable role models, and can be accessible sources of encouragement and information about vaccination. They help to create social and cultural norms and expectations that vaccination is ‘what we do here’. Involving employees from diverse areas of the business in planning and promoting the vaccination program can also increase uptake.
Providing specific information about the vaccination program, as well as general information about flu and flu vaccination, can motivate employees, and allay any concerns they may have. Information can be provided in general, pre-prepared formats (e.g. emails, posters, leaflets, social media posts, presentations etc), as well as interactive forms (e.g. discussion boards, group discussions, events, question and answer sessions, or the opportunity to ask questions of a health professional face-to-face or via phone). Using a variety of formats and mediums is most effective. Information campaigns should aim to outline the seriousness of the flu and the benefits of flu vaccination, explain that everybody is vulnerable, emphasise the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety, and address common questions and concerns. We can provide tried and tested resources to assist with this.
Offering simple incentives that are consistent with your business’ values and culture is an effective and fun way to encourage participation. Incentives for being vaccinated are a far more palatable and widely acceptable mechanisms than sanctions for not being vaccinated. This is true as long as you ensure individuals who are medically unable to be vaccinated do not unfairly miss out. Examples of incentives include entry to a prize draw, giveaways, collective prizes for meeting a ‘percentage vaccinated’ goal, food or drink vouchers, free food at vaccination events, and charity donations by the business.
Using reminders and prompts to keep vaccination front-of-mind can increase vaccination rates by reducing the loss of willing participants to procrastination, delaying or forgetting. Depending on the format and forum used, reminders and prompts may be untargeted (reaching the general population of employees), or targeted (reaching unvaccinated individuals, or groups with low vaccination uptake).
Wherever possible, vaccination should be provided free of charge through your workplace vaccination program. In Australia, availability of the flu vaccination for free has been found to result in a seven-fold increase uptake. In addition, employees should be protected from indirect costs of vaccination wherever possible. This means allowing them to remain ‘on the clock’ while being vaccinated, and reducing the chance they will incur other costs to be vaccinated (such as parking, childcare or travel), but carefully selecting when and where vaccinations are available.
But you are busy – so let us do the hard work for you
We have a track record of achieving high participation rates (as high as 60%), and the tried and tested methods for doing so (increase of up to 40% on previous programs).
For support implementing a flu vaccination program that really hits the mark, and gets your employees on board, get in touch for a free quote.