Last month, the first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine made their way to hospitals across the U.S. The two-dose vaccine, developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, is initially going to doctors, nurses, essential workers, and others who are at an increased risk of getting sick.
Just like with most vaccines, there are certain potential adverse reactions that may develop. One new area of concern for workers is whether these side effects would be covered by workers’ compensation. In other words, can a worker who gets COVID-19 vaccinated receive workers’ compensation benefits for adverse reactions?
Potential Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the following side effects are normal and can be expected after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Pain and swelling in the arm (injection site)
An article from The Washington Post says that about half of the people who get the shot will experience the above symptoms, which is typical for most vaccines.
Medical Treatment and Scope of Employment
Determining whether side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine will be covered by workers’ compensation will come down to specific details of the individual’s employment conditions, including job duties and occupational disease risks.
For instance, let’s say that a frontline medical worker gets vaccinated for COVID-19. Since their particular employment conditions drastically increase their chances of exposure to the virus, any harm caused by the vaccine would generally be considered to have occurred during the course of employment. As a result, workers’ compensation benefits would apply if the worker missed work and required medical treatment as a result. However, from what we currently know about the vaccine, adverse reactions would probably not cause such severe symptoms that an employee would miss work for an extended period of time.
Keep in mind that there are several other factors that could potentially come into play in the near future which may complicate matters further, such as government-ordered vaccination requirements.
Speak with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Free
Ultimately, if you are unsure whether your reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is covered by workers’ compensation, you should speak with an attorney who can review your case at no cost and determine how potential benefits may apply to your unique circumstances.
At The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys have been assisting clients with workers’ compensation claims throughout the pandemic. If you have any questions or concerns about your potential case, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at (770) 629-9321.