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Employers To Feel Impact Of 2013 Flu Season

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Brian New
Brian joined the CBS 11 News team in 2013 after working a...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Children’s Medical Center in Dallas instituted a strict new flu vaccine policy for its employees.

The hospital is requiring all employees to be vaccinated for the flu and will terminate those who refuse.

Employees can appeal based on religious or medical reasons.

While most North Texas employers are not requiring its employees to be vaccinated, local economists say most businesses should be concerned about the flu outbreak.

“Health shocks like this could possibly have a long term outcome,” said UT Dallas economics professor Monica Deza.

Deza said during a large flu outbreak, both those who are and are not sick can and often have negative impacts on the economy.

The more people who come down with the flu translate to fewer people going to work which means a drop in work productivity.

Meanwhile, Deza said, those without the flu often avoid public places such as restaurants, shops, and movie theaters out of concern of catching the virus.

“With this economy, we especially can’t have people not going to public places,” said Deza. “We need people in the restaurants and in the movie theaters to keep those jobs.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a typical flu season can costs U.S. employers more than $10-billion in direct medical costs.

Deza said it’s too early for economist is estimate this year’s outbreak’s economic impact but added the impact could potentially be felt of years.

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