Workplace flu shots had a long history to get where it is today. Thanks to research and technology advancement, this has helped improve the lives of those around us. This is especially the case in the office, whereby jabs will prevent a rise of sick leaves during the year, enhance productivity levels, and create rapport in the office. Today, we’re going to travel back in time and see where workplace flu shots all began.


It took a while for our workplace flu shots to get where it is today. In 1903, more than a decade before the 1918 influenza pandemic, Johnson & Johnson created needles and syringes. This was a way to provide treatments straight into the bloodstream. At the time, this was a very futuristic and innovative approach to medicine, finding a new avenue for taking in medication. Little did they know these injections would help a pandemic in a few years, leading us to rely on workplace flu shots as the solution for prevention.


In 1918, the Spanish influenza pandemic was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. There is no single location on record; however, it spread across the globe for more than 100 years. It was reported that 500 million people were infected with the virus, with 50 million deceased. Despite the research done in the community to treat influenza, there have been extreme cases of the illness, with some resulting in death.

This pandemic was the most lethal in history, with a larger death count than even World War I. Johnson & Johnson created an epidemic mask made from sterilised gauze to help delay the virus from spreading. This was a highly effective protocol that became useful for future outbreaks. As seen in history, protection is essential to improve people’s immunity, and workplace flu shots can help make this possible. For more information on making sure you are getting the most out of workplace flu jabs, take a look at our guidelines from our blog.


In 1933, researchers from the UK Medical Research Council found a way to isolate the virus from humans. Virologist Patrick Laidlaw operated on ferrets to create a vaccine. One of the researchers, Wilson Smith, developed a virus from the animals, which helped the team create a vaccine. This vaccine was the pinpoint to getting our workplace flu shots to become a staple part of our society to better the health of those around us. Feel free to look at our blog to see the reasons why your company should have workplace flu shots.

Back in 1936, a Soviet scientist named A.A. Smorodintseff tried to vaccinate humans with a live influenza vaccine. This took inspiration from  Louis Pasteur, who in 1885 first attempted to immunise people with a live strain of rabies. This weakened strain of the virus was used in mass production of a shot that was given out to factory workers who were more likely to develop influenza.


In 1954, disposable hypodermic needles and syringes were invented to assist in the vaccination process. They had helped avoid cross-contamination from patient to patient when injecting.
Shortly after, influenza had spread across the globe, with pandemics reaching Asia and Russia.


In 1978, they developed the first trivalent vaccine with three components. These contained two influenza A strains and a single influenza B strain, helping the body fight different strains of influenza.


Before workplace flu shots, there were different treatments to reduce influenza symptoms, such as antivirals and other over-the-counter drugs. This helped calm down a blocked nose, chills, and fever. A nasal vaccine was further developed to assist those who didn’t want to be injected.


In 2009, plans were set to produce a quadruple inactivated vaccine with the hopes of eventually developing a universal vaccine. These were developed with mini-HA antigens found in a range of viruses. This offers durable protection more effective than the typical seasonal workplace flu shot. This was developed after discovering that humans can create antibodies to combat the virus.

These advancements in technology have led to the development of workplace flu shots. As a result, immunisations have helped improve productivity, built rapport, and reduce sick absences in the office.