Every year, thousands of American workers become ill from diseases that could have been prevented through timely vaccinations. People with chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory conditions are not only more susceptible to these preventable diseases, but they are also more vulnerable to developing complications as a result. The coordination of an effective biometric screening program, coupled with an immunization plan, will ensure employees who suffer from chronic health conditions are aware of their test results and have the opportunity to act (i.e., get vaccinated) to prevent diseases that can exacerbate their condition. Give your employees the tools to fight adverse outcomes.
Vaccinations are not just for kids! Yes, adults need vaccinations, too:
Most workers are aware that vaccinations can help prevent certain illnesses, but many of them incorrectly believe that just because they received the standard immunizations as an infant or adolescent, they are still protected. Unfortunately, that may not be true. There are several reasons why a person’s immunity might diminish over time:
- Vaccine immunity may wane as well as the effectiveness over time.
- Viruses and bacterial diseases can change (drift) over time, making certain vaccinations less effective. In fact, the seasonal flu virus changes each year, which is why a flu shot every year is recommended.
- People’s situations change ― age, job, environment, hobbies ― and they are exposed to different threats. As employees age, health conditions can weaken their immune systems, making vaccinations even more important.
Various vaccines have different life spans (approved schedules), from a few weeks to a lifetime, and individual immunity can vary greatly as well. Getting re-vaccinated as an adult helps to maintain effective levels of immunity and, at the very least, lessen the symptoms and duration of the illness. It is important to know that workers with age-related conditions that can weaken the immune system are especially vulnerable and should be encouraged to get re-vaccinated.
Chronic health conditions increase importance and need for immunization
Vaccinations are especially important for individuals with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart and lung diseases., They also often have compromised immune systems which leads to a greater chance of complications. It’s important to both identify vulnerable workers and to educate them about the importance of getting vaccinated.
- Diabetes: With both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, the body has a harder time fighting off infections. This makes individuals with diabetes more vulnerable to vaccine-preventable illnesses as well as complications from those illnesses. Diabetes also raises the risk of pneumonia and meningitis. People with diabetes should receive influenza, HPV, HepB, pneumococcal, shingles, and Tdap vaccinations.
- Heart conditions: Flu viruses and pneumonia can exacerbate cardiovascular problems; therefore, vaccines can reduce the chances of heart attack and reduce mortality in heart failure patients. The pneumococcal vaccine can even have a protective effect against heart disease. People with heart conditions should receive influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, shingles, and Tdap vaccinations.
- Lung problems: Pneumococcal pneumonia, common among older adults, kills an estimated 40,000 people each year ― more than any other vaccine-preventable bacterial disease. Lung conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, cause air passages to swell, making breathing difficult. Flu and pneumonia contribute to that swelling, so the combination of both can create a serious respiratory problem. Individuals with pulmonary problems should receive influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, shingles, and Tdap vaccinations.
Coordinating biometric screening with immunization programs
Because the presence of certain chronic conditions can make vaccinations even more important, it’s vital to identify and educate those individuals about vaccine-preventable diseases. Coordinating biometric screening with a vaccination program provides that opportunity. If the screening shows the presence of certain chronic conditions, health liaisons can meet with those individuals to encourage vaccinations and alert them of the possible consequences of not following through.
Workplace vaccination programs are one of the best ways for companies to cut health care costs for employees. One of the keys to the success of these programs is participation. Coordinating the screening, employee outreach, and vaccinations will increase the likelihood that employees will follow through with getting vaccinated.
If you’re ready to reap the advantages of having your well-being program’s biometric screening and vaccination services provided by a single, coordinated source, Impact Health would like to discuss the ways that we can help meet the health needs of your employees. Our health is of unparalleled importance. Preventing disease, human suffering, devastating illness, and in rare cases death is in our wheelhouse. The time to be proactive and prevent disease, especially with vulnerable workers is now.