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Will Workers’ Comp Cover Reactions to Employer-Mandated COVID-19 Vaccines?

 Posted on August 03,2021 in Workers' Compensation

Gilroy CA workers' compensation attorneyWhile the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines was looked at with relief by many in the U.S., almost as many voiced their opposition to getting the vaccine. Like many issues, the debate has caused a significant divide between the two groups. As the vaccines became more widely available, many people who wanted the vaccine got it. Recently, however, there has been a slowdown in the number of people who are getting vaccinated, and this has led some employers to issue mandatory vaccine policies. One question raised by these mandates is whether employees will qualify for workers' compensation benefits if they have adverse reactions to the shot.

Side-Effects of the Vaccine

There are currently three different COVID-19 vaccines being offered to the public. The Moderna vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine and can be given to adults 18 years and older. Two shots are given, spaced 28 days apart. The Pfizer-BioNTech is also an mRNA vaccine and is available to anyone 12 years old and up. Two shots are given, 21 days apart. The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine is a viral vector one-shot vaccine and is available to adults 18 years and older.

Many people who get the vaccine have mild side effects, more so after the second dose. These side effects occur within three days of receiving the vaccine and usually last one to two days. The more common side effects include:

  • Soreness, redness, and/or swelling at the injection site

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Chills

  • Joint pain

  • Muscle pain

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

There are some people who have suffered more significant side effects. Within three weeks of receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, some people have reported:

  • Easy bruising of the skin or tiny red spots in the area of the injection site

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Severe headaches

  • Blurred vision

  • Swelling of the legs

  • Persistent stomach pain

There have also been reports of people developing Guillain-Barre syndrome, a condition marked by double vision, difficulty walking, weakness, tingling, difficulty with facial movements, and difficulty with bladder control after receiving the Johnson & Johnson shot.

The CDC is also reporting that more than 1,000 people have developed myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart) after receiving one of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccinations. The majority of those affected are male teens and young adults.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits and the COVID-19 Vaccine

If an employer mandates that employees must be fully vaccinated in order to work at their organization and a worker has a reaction to the vaccine that is serious enough that they are unable to work for a few days or longer, the injured worker could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, just as they would be for any other work-related illness or injury. It is important for employees to notify their employer and seek medical attention as soon as possible if they do have a serious adverse reaction.

Contact a Gilroy, CA Work Injury Attorney for Help

If you have suffered a serious reaction to an employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccine, a skilled Morgan Hill, CA workers’ compensation lawyer can help you navigate through what may be a complex filing process. Given the unprecedented nature of these claims, it is anticipated that many employers and/or insurance companies will dispute paying workers’ compensation benefits to affected workers. Having a legal team that focuses exclusively on California workers’ compensation law can make all the difference in the success of your case. Call 408-848-1113 today to schedule a free and confidential compensation.



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