Flu costs the British economy £1.35bn a year. A survey of more than 3,000 people has revealed that last year accounted for the most number of days lost (1,141) among short-term illnesses.

According to the CBI, there were 180 million sick days taken in the UK last year costing employers around £17.bn. However, while seasonal illness has an impact on the bottom line for businesses,it can have a more detrimental impact on the 3.9m self-employed who do not benefit from statutory sick pay.

Fiona Caplan-Dean, Clinical Services Manager at The Co-operative Pharmacy said, “Normally only at risk groups are offered the vaccination by the NHS but as a co-operative business we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to take preventative measures against the virus to minimise the impact on their business. For some people, having a flu vaccine can help to protect their livelihood in these difficult financial times. It can also help to reduce the chances of passing on the virus to family and friends.”

“For most flu sufferers symptoms will last for around a week, but tiredness can continue for much longer and this, in turn, can reduce productivity and lower customer satisfaction. Missed meetings that disrupt work schedules during short-term illness can also have a knock-on effect for the wider workforce, for example low morale. The cost of sickness for employers therefore, is more than just statutory sick pay, but if you are self-employed the consequences can be more far-reaching.”