Flu hits Roslindale

February 29, 2008

My company offered a flu clinic in late 2007 and paid for the flu vaccine for all 100 or so employees who signed up the day the nurse came to administer. Believe it or not, this was the first time I’ve worked somewhere where the flu shot was offered at work. Being the HR person, I took responsibility for organizing the flu clinic last October (with the help of our receptionist who knew the drill from the prior year).

I had personally never had a flu shot before, and I don’t tend to get sick a lot. I remember reading a lot in the media about prior year vaccine shortages, and recommendations on who should or should not get a shot.  I never paid it much attention. But, having organized the clinic, I signed myself up for the needle (I hate shots…I’m a total baby about them).

About a month ago, I saw my old friend and neighbor on the commuter rail getting off at the Roslindale village stop. I asked how he was, and he said that he had been sick for two weeks — one week he had to stay home from work, the following he was the walking wounded. I asked about symptoms (his wife is an MD), and he said there was some respiratory discomfort, fever, and some stomach trouble.  The next weekend, my son got a raging fever, then some minor vomiting — but he was over it in 3 days. My son didn’t have a flu shot last year…

Then, my husband fell ill. He’s been ill for about a week, so we took him to the doctor’s. They did a nasal swab and called us later to inform us that he has “type B” Influenza. Should be over it in another week, we hope. Husband also did not have a shot…

So far (knock on wood), I’m fine. I also feel ok about coming in to work, as I don’t think I’m a carrier (although I have been extra careful about hand washing).

I know there was talk in the media about last year’s batch of vaccine being off-target, but it seems to be doing the trick here in Roslindale. It’s made a believer of me! I highly recommend that employers with the resources to organize a workplace flu clinic should do so. It’s a minor expense ($25 a shot) that can save weeks of productivity!  Especially in an era when so many employers are switching to “PTO” systems (no allocated sick days). Nothing more demoralizing for an employee who has to blow half their PTO allowance on a nasty bout of the flu.