Federal Manager's Daily Report

A joint memo from OPM and HHS urges federal employees to get flu shots, noting that “flu vaccines are available through your health insurance and most workplaces.”

“You can take advantage of your Federal Employees Health Benefits plan and get a flu vaccine at low or no cost. Most FEHB plans cover flu vaccines at pharmacies and retail stores, in addition to doctor’s offices and clinics, with no co-pays when in-network. Your workplace may also offer flu vaccines onsite,” it says.

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While the memo does not directly address the topic, many federal managers have interpreted similar annual memos as providing a justification for excusing employees from work to get inoculated at agency health clinics and other in-house settings.

Those who get a flu vaccine are less likely to get sick from a flu virus and some studies have shown that the illness may be less severe for those who get sick regardless, it says. A yearly seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for everyone aged six months and older, and getting one lowers the risk of passing a flu to others, particularly persons at higher risk of serious illnesses from the flu such as babies and children, pregnant women and persons age 65 and up.