Federal employees should take advantage of the free flu vaccine available to them at work and agencies also should consider providing the vaccine for free to contractor employees who work near them, according to guidance issued this week.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all persons 6 months of age and older, with some exceptions, get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible. It is no longer necessary to determine if someone is in a high-risk group for flu to receive the flu vaccine, because virtually everyone can benefit,” according to a memo from the Office of Personnel Management and the Health and Human Services Department.
The memo said that influenza vaccine “is free to federal employees in federal health clinics across the country” and that providing it free to contractor employees is allowed if the contractors are located with or have substantial physical proximity to agency employees. “This conclusion is supported by a policy position that such vaccination is justified in order to maintain the health of agency employees and to maximize the productivity of agency operations,” the memo said.
The agencies issued similar guidance ahead of the flu season last year.
The memo also recommends that employees take “everyday preventive actions” against the spread of flu germs such as washing their hands and staying away from work if they are sick.