3 Reasons Your Staff Needs 4-Strain Flu Shots This Season
Are you the kind of person who only buys the best? Brand new cars, top-of-the-line appliances, best-in-class office equipment and software … often, investing in the latest technologies means a better, longer-lasting return on that investment.
The same is true for your health, especially in preparation for flu season.
For decades, the only flu vaccines available were 3-strain, or “trivalent”, meaning they protected against three types of flu viruses. In recent years a “quadrivalent” vaccine has become available, which protects against four flu virus strains.
Here are three reasons why it’s time to make the switch from 3-strain to 4-strain flu shots.
1 – It’s safe.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) works hard to inform Americans that flu vaccinations are for almost everybody 6 months or older, and that you can’t get the flu from a vaccination.
A study published in July 2016 concluded that new quadrivalent vaccines are no more likely to cause minor side effects than the trivalent vaccines people have been taking for years. All clear.
Of course, you should talk to your doctor before taking any vaccine to make sure you don’t have an allergy or condition that could give you trouble. Different types of vaccines have different ingredients. Some include eggs, for example, which can cause a severe reaction in people with an egg allergy. (It’s pretty rare for that to happen, though.)
2 – It’s working.
The same study concluded that 4-strain vaccines “showed superior efficacy” (why can’t they just say “worked way better”?) for the B virus than last year’s 3-strain trivalent vaccine.
Another study from 2015 made some fun models and concluded that if we’d had quadrivalent vaccines in the years between 2000 and 2013, we would have had 15.8% fewer cases of B-strain flu. There’s a high probability they threw a statistics party when they discovered that.
NOTE: If anyone on your staff already got a trivalent vaccination this season, consider that good enough. Except for certain children, the CDC does not recommend more than one dose of flu vaccine in a season, even if you didn’t get the 4-strain. The trivalent vaccine ain’t bad. It too is formulated each year to combat the current season’s most common viruses.
3 – It’s the future.
Chances are, with a better product that protects against an additional strain, vaccine manufacturers will eventually stop making the trivalent and embrace the new standard.
However, as long as both vaccines are offered, there will be two price points and insurance companies may differ on how much they’re willing to pay for your shot. Ask your health insurance provider specifically about coverage for 4-strain flu vaccinations to find out.
If you’re making the call on behalf of your workplace and the cost of the quadrivalent vaccine is prohibitive, you will still be preventing hundreds of sick days by purchasing trivalent vaccines for your staff.
Still fuzzy on the difference between the trivalent flu vaccine and quadrivalent flu vaccine? We covered that in this blog post.
Unless there’s a medical condition to be concerned about, or your people already got their shot, it’s time to step up to the next level in flu prevention: fighting four bad guys at once instead of just three is obviously much better.
Flu prevention is an important part of comprehensive corporate wellness programming. Click the link below to learn more about how we can help with onsite flu shot clinics.