We all know the importance of vaccinating our kids. It’s still (for some reason) a hot-button issue for a lot of parents, but science has shown again and again that vaccinating your kids against preventable illnesses is in their best interest. Not to mention the public at large through herd immunity. But a new study highlights just how important vaccines are for adults, too. Vaccinated workers in the healthcare field take significantly less sick time off work than their unvaccinated peers. And during critical periods like flu season, that translates to better care for the public.

The study looked at 4,000 healthcare workers and compared the amount of time taken off between vaccinated workers and unvaccinated workers.

The study found that in workplaces where staff who could be vaccinated were made to get the flu shot, absenteeism was around 6% lower than in workplaces that gave employees the choice. However, on an individual level, the difference was even more pronounced. Vaccinated workers in the healthcare field missed work 30% less than their unvaccinated colleagues.

This year’s flu season was particularly brutal. Hospitals and clinics all over the country were inundated with patients, putting a huge strain on staff and resources.

When workers are vaccinated, they miss less work, so clinics and hospitals are able to maintain better staffing levels. More staff means better patient care, and in a flu epidemic, that is incredibly important. Dr. Trish Perl, who co-authored the study, says, “absenteeism can pose a serious threat to how effectively a hospital is able to manage the surge of patients during an outbreak.”

Additionally, vaccinated workers create another line of defense for those visiting clinics and hospitals who can’t be vaccinated. Herd immunity protects the most vulnerable among us, and healthcare workers work with these vulnerable populations everyday. By getting vaccinated, they’re extending protection to them, too.

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(Image: iStock / Wavebreakmedia)