At the time this article was written, over 21.7 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19—and this number is rising more every day. Even scarier is the fact that this number only accounts for confirmed cases and drastically underrepresents the real level of spread. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the actual number of infected in this country could be 8 to 10 ten times more than that.
As COVID-19 has torn through our community and country, health care workers experience the greatest risk of getting exposed. In the last year, we have seen some truly heroic actions by frontline healthcare workers treating those who have been affected by the virus.
Despite the tragic fact that there has been a shortage of PPE (personal protection equipment) for the brave men and women on the front lines of this pandemic, many healthcare workers have put in long hours and risked their own lives to treat those whose lives are endangered by the virus.
Fortunately, there has been some positive news lately that will hopefully provide much-needed relief to our stretched healthcare system.
Mandatory vaccine policies and workers’ compensation
The coronavirus vaccine is currently being rolled out across the country—slower than many of us would like, but nonetheless it is being distributed. Health care and medical workers are among the first group who is eligible for the vaccine.
Some healthcare employers are requiring their employees to take the vaccine once they are eligible as a prerequisite for returning to work. And while research shows that a vast majority of people have had no ill reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine, there have been a handful of reported cases of allergic reactions.
In light of this, it’s important to note:
If an employer requires their employees to take a vaccine as a safety precaution (and they should), then any adverse reaction to the vaccine should be covered by workers’ compensation.
For example, if an individual goes into anaphylactic shock because they are allergic to any ingredient in the vaccine and have to be hospitalized, workers’ compensation insurance in Georgia would be required to pay for the medical treatment associated with the reaction.
Workers’ comp may also be responsible for temporary total disability benefits if that individual is not able to work for 7 consecutive days as a result of the reaction.