It’s flu season, and the Office of Personnel Management wants federal workers to get their flu shots again this year.
In a recent memo to agency heads, OPM director Katherine Archuleta said that an annual flu vaccine is the best way to prevent getting flu to avoid missing work due to illness. The flu causes Americans to collectively lose as many as 17 million workdays each year.
Archuleta noted in the memo that often times federal employees can get the flu shots at no additional cost to them:
To help make immunization more accessible, many federal agencies offer flu shots onsite at no or low cost. Employees can also receive this vaccine at no cost through their health plan. Most FEHB plans cover flu shots at pharmacies and retail stores in addition to doctor’s offices and clinics. As a plus, the whole family can be immunized at these locations. Furthermore, with the prevention focus of the Affordable Care Act, many more Americans have insurance coverage for common vaccines.
OPM also wants agency leadership to do the following to help fight the flu:
- Encourage frequent hand washing and proper etiquette for coughs and sneezes
- Reassure employees that it is best to stay home if they develop symptoms of the flu
- Direct supervisors to review telework, flexible work schedules, and leave options that may be available to employees
- Update employee contact information
- Refresh emergency plans to ensure continuity of operations
- Know your agency’s contingency role in a severe flu outbreak