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The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, November 8th

Flu is early, it’s time to encourage shots! ⏱

ZHH News:

TOMORROW, November 9th at 3pm ET

Did you know that 81% of workers reported that they will be looking for workplaces that support mental health in the future?

Join us for a discussion on the current mental health crisis, and specifically what employers can do to address workplace mental health, with Roslyn Stone, MPH, CEO of Zero Hour Health, with Lori Govar, MSW, an employee behavioral health expert, and Liz Colizza, LPC, the Director of Research and Programs at Talkspace.

They'll talk about what employers can do to support your team - and in turn, help your business thrive.

Register here.


  • While sales of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine are falling, they plan to triple the cost of the shot and use the money they’ve made to find new superstar vaccines. (KHN)
  • COVID patients coming off ventilators may take weeks to regain consciousness. (NY Times)
  • At NASCAR events, teams are giving away earplugs, sunscreen, and free COVID shots. They’re a tough sell. (STAT)
  • Travel to a research station in Antarctica has been stopped after 98 people tested positive for COVID. (WSJ)
  • It appears that those who take Paxlovid are less likely to get long COVID, according to a new preprint study in veterans. (MedRxiv)
  • Oral Zinc cut the risk of ICU admission and death in a Tunisian study. (CIDRAP)

Public Health & MPX News:

  • The FDA recalled Kalera lettuce products due to contamination with Salmonella.
  • High stress during the pandemic affected menstrual cycles, leading to longer, heavier, and more frequent periods. (Washington Post)
  • Another school closure - this time in Alabama - due to a flu outbreak. (AP)
  • Hospital ERs are at a breaking point, slammed with flu, RSV, and COVID. Mass General had an 8-hour wait time last week, and some patients are leaving before being seen. (Boston Globe)
  • Patients throughout a hospital are more likely to die when the emergency department is overcrowded. (Becker’s Hospital Review)
  • Flu is off to a fast start, with high rates in at least 17 states and over 700 deaths already this year. It normally doesn’t take off until December or January. (AP).

Mental Health News:

  • Almost 1 in 5 workers reported that their mental health was poor or fair, the two lowest ratings on a recent Gallup survey.  (Yahoo News)
  • A surge in patients seeking mental health care is seriously stressing hospitals. (ABC 15)
  • Twin brothers ran 7 marathons in 7 days to raise awareness for mental health. (Fox)

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, call 988 or message the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Best Questions:

Given how bad this flu season is already, should we be emphasizing flu shots?

Yes! It’s not too late to go get a flu shot, and the sooner the better. It can take a few weeks until your protection ramps up to maximum levels, so it’s best not to wait. If you’re exposed the day after you get your shot, it won’t have had enough time to protect you. Encourage employees to get flu shots ASAP, especially since the holidays are coming. If you can, consider a voucher or on-site flu program to make it as convenient as possible for employees. If you’ve developed incentive campaigns in the past, now would be a great time to roll those back out, like catered lunches for teams that reach a certain percentage of uptake.

What can we do to prepare for the next pandemic?

Here’s one good set of tools from the Health Action Alliance (HAA) which is a partnership of 4000 employers and the CDC, White House, and others: Health Action Alliance Pandemic Playbook. It emphasizes that employers are the most trusted institution in America  - more than the CDC or White House. Using that trust to build both business and community health plans in advance will be key for businesses to be prepared for the next one.

My COVID tests are expired. They’re getting harder to find again (and they’re expensive). Can I use the ones I have or should I replace them?

Many test kits have been extended, so don’t throw them away until you check the FDA site to see if that date has been pushed out as the companies gather more data. If you have a positive on an expired test, you should assume it’s a true positive, at least until you can confirm with a valid, non-expired test.

An employee complained of feeling sick after getting a bivalent COVID booster together with a flu shot. How common is it to be sicker after getting both together?

No, getting both shots at once doesn’t make you sicker or pose any risk. You can expect a similar response to each shot as you’ve had in the past. So, if you never have any reaction to the flu shot, you’re probably fine to get both on the same day. If you’ve gotten sick for a day or so from both shots in the past, it might make sense to space them out a bit, as long as you remember to go back for the second shot! There’s a real risk to someone not going back for the second, so we still think the best thing to do is what’s most convenient for you. If that’s getting both at once and being sick for a day, great. If that’s spacing them out and going twice but feeling more mild side effects on each day, great. Just get out there and get those shots ASAP before the holidays!

Best Read:

Should the Severe Start to Flu Season Lead Your Workplace to Require Flu Shots? 2 Main Considerations for Employers | Fisher Phillips

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Disclaimer: This post is meant for general information and educational purposes only and does not constitute, and is not intended as, any form of medical, legal or regulatory advice or a recommendation or suggestion regarding the same.  No recipient of this information should act or refrain from acting on the basis of this information without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.