Newswise — Each year, influenza poses a tremendous burden on working adults and the many businesses that employ them, contributing to absenteeism and lost productivity. Yet, annual influenza immunization rates remain very low. New data out today show that employer-sponsored influenza vaccination programs held early in the flu season not only protect employee health, but save businesses money.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, who presented the findings at the American Public Health Association’s 138th Annual Meeting & Exposition in Denver, developed an economic model to suggest that not only should employers get their employees vaccinated, they should do so as early as possible.
Using historic influenza data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and wage data from the U.S. Department of Labor, the models show that getting an employee immunized in November instead of December can save an employer between $63 and $95 per person. Vaccinating an entire firm of 150 employees earlier could save a business between $9,450 and $14,250. The potential cost savings of influenza immunization drop dramatically for vaccination after December.
“Employers have huge incentives to solve this widespread public health problem with timely vaccination,” said Rachel Bailey, MPH, lead researcher of the study. “Even though sponsoring workplace vaccination may appear expensive, the cost savings provided by preventing influenza-associated absenteeism with vaccination programs early in the influenza season more than compensates.”
Session 4347: Seasonal and Pandemic Workplace Influenza Vaccination: An Economic Simulation Model
Date: Tuesday, November 9, 2010: 5:00 PM
Researcher: Rachel Bailey, MPH, Julie H.Y. Tai, MD, Ann E. Wiringa, MPH, Abena Afriyie, Angela R. Wateska, MPH, Kenneth J. Smith, MD, MS, Richard K. Zimmerman, MD, MPH, and Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA.
Information for Media: The APHA Annual Meeting Press Office will be located in Room 302 of the Colorado Convention Center. The full Annual Meeting program and abstracts are available online at http://www.apha.org/meetings/sessions/. Final programs with session locations, along with daily highlights and other press materials, will be available on site at the APHA Press Office. Please visit our website for additional Annual Meeting press information.
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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at www.apha.org.