In order to assist member employers with preparation for H1N1 (swine) flu in the workplace, we've compiled various links to government and other resources on the topic, including articles from law firms. We will continue to add information as it becomes available.
Andrew S. Doniger, MD, MPH, Director, Monroe County Dept. of Public Health reports that they are working closely with state and federal health officials to facilitate the H1N1 vaccine in our area. Here is an excerpt from the Monroe County website: Seasonal flu shot clinics have been postponed for the time being. They may be re-scheduled later in November when more vaccine arrives. Getting a seasonal flu shot later in November and even December and January is still wise to do because this type of flu does not typically peak until January or February. There is also a lot of interest in H1N1 vaccines. At this point only a small number of doctor's offices have H1N1 vaccine so we still see no reason to contact them. We expect that to change quite a bit as we get towards the end of October and into early November when more substantial amounts of H1N1 vaccine are expected to arrive. As doctor's offices get vaccine they have their own methods for informing patients. Our best projection as to when H1N1 public clinics will begin is mid-late November. Details should be firmed up by the end of October. We need to have adequate vaccine on-hand to run clinics. H1N1 vaccine will be given in phases, with those at highest-risk going first. There are slight differences in priority groups for seasonal and H1N1 vaccine.
Employer FAQs on Flu Response
Flu.gov has provided answers to many of the questions that arise during pandemic planning. The subjects covered include: human resource policies, equal employment and privacy issues, workplace benefits, workplace safety and health issues, and unemployment issues and financial assistance. Click here to view the FAQs. Please remember to consider the New York State Human Rights law and any other applicable laws when establishing your company's response and be sure to discuss with legal counsel to minimize liability.
H1N1 flu and related resources:
Employers should continue to encourage good basic hygiene practices (handwashing, use of hand sanitizer, covering coughs/sneezes, etc.) but may want to remind employees that for those covered by MVP Health Care or Excellus, they can call MVP (nurse line) or Excellus (health coach) hotlines to help determine if they should be seen by their physician or not. Other insurance carriers may have similar hotlines.In an effort to help employers prepare, RBA hosted a special meeting on Prevention and Preparation for Influenza on Friday, May 8. All of the meeting handouts have been saved in one PDF document for your convenience. Click here to view or print the handouts from the session.