Safety programs that include drug testing, background checks, and occupational medicine are not new, and, for many businesses, are an essential part of the budget every year. However, as we look to 2021 budgets, there are some critical changes to be aware of and some standards that should not be abandoned at any cost.
As you budget 2021, consider prioritizing on-site drug testing, COVID-19 testing, vaccines for COVID-19 and the flu, machine assisted physical assessments, ongoing and targeted background checks.
Vaccines for COVID-19 and the Flu: The best offense is a good defense
While WSS will offer COVID-19 testing until it is no longer necessary, we’d recommend vaccinating your employees to avoid the twindemic predicted in 2020-2021 and the flu for next fall. What is the Twindemic prediction?
"So beginning this fall, the US for the first time will have to deal with a flu season wrapped in a global pandemic. Or, as the headline on a recent editorial by Edward Belongia, MD, and Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, described it, 'a perfect storm.'" Both viruses will be live in the world population this fall. As of September 29, 2020, we reached 1 million deaths worldwide, which is, according to the New York Times, greater than the number of people estimated to have died from malaria, influenza, cholera and measles, combined, over the same period.
The flu season of 2019-2020 was difficult enough in and of itself. Before COVID-19 took hold in the U.S., according to the CDC, from October 1, 2019 to April 4, 2020:
- Between 24,000 to 62,000 people died of influenza.
- 39 million to 56 million people contracted the flu virus
- Flu season averages as many as 100 million lost workdays.
- Two-thirds of those are usually paid sick time, which could amount to $10 billion dollars of production value from the U.S. workforce
Employers are encouraged to offer vaccines, and many can legally mandate that their employees receive the vaccine. According to the National Law Review, “employers are beginning to ask the question: “Can we require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19?” In general, the answer is yes. Employers may implement mandatory vaccination programs, subject to limited exemptions.”
According to the New York Times, “The concern about a twindemic is so great that officials around the world are pushing the flu shot even before it becomes available in clinics and doctors’ offices. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been talking it up, urging corporate leaders to figure out ways to inoculate employees. The C.D.C. usually purchases 500,000 doses for uninsured adults but this year ordered an additional 9.3 million doses.”
Prepare your 2021 budget with vaccines for the flu and COVID-19 built in. “According to the World Health Organization, as of August 25, 2020, 173 potential vaccines are currently being developed in labs across the world, 31 of which have advanced to clinical stage testing on humans. Drug manufacturers estimate that a vaccine will be ready and approved for general use by the end of this year or early 2021.”
Need to accurately project the cost of vaccinations and plan ordering the vaccines into your 2020-2021 budget? Contact us.