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Employer Mandated COVID-19 Vaccines & Benefits Available For Injury and Adverse Reactions

August 03, 2021


            During the past week, New York Gov. Cuomo has announced that New York State government employees will be required to either receive one of the available Covid-19 vaccines or be subject to weekly Covid-19 testing[1]. He has also, while acknowledging that he lacks the authority to compel compliance, strongly encouraged private employers to take the same approach[2]. These directives and statements by Gov. Cuomo come in the midst of vaccine mandates being announced in various state governments throughout the country and with news that multiple large employers will require their employees to be vaccinated in order to return to the workplace. While the three vaccines currently in use in the United States (Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Janssen) are authorized for emergency use, it is expected that more employers will mandate vaccines once the FDA grants full approvals[3]

            What if an employee who is required by his or her employer to get vaccinated suffers an adverse reaction or injury? What compensation or other remedy is available to recover lost wages or medical expenses that may arise as result?

            As we had previously written about in January 2021, Workers’ Compensation benefits may be available to a worker who is injured as a result of an employer mandated or encouraged vaccine. Past decisions of the New York Workers’ Compensation Board have found work-related injuries to have occurred when an employee suffers an injury or adverse reaction as result of an employer required or recommended vaccination [Mohawk Valley Child & Youth, 2001 NY Wrk Comp 698705083; (adverse reaction from hepatitis B vaccine); Canton Potsdam Hospital, 2010 NY Wrk Comp 0065897 (adverse reaction to TDAP vaccine); Dutchess County Dept. of Health, 2010 NY Wrk Comp 57912423 (adverse reaction to rubella vaccine); Scipio Volunteer Fire Dept., 2011 NY Wrk Comp 000128 (injury due to H1N1 vaccine); Blossom North LLC, 2015 NY Wrk Comp 0671597 (injury caused by flu vaccine); Montefiore MC, 2015 NY Wrk Comp 070154 (injury caused by flu vaccine); and Mt. Sanai Medical Center, 2015 NY Wrk Comp 0695787 (injury caused by flu injection)].

            There is no reason to believe that employer mandated or encouraged Covid-19 vaccines would be treated any differently. An important consideration would likely be whether the worker obtains the vaccination on his or her own or if it is received at an employer organized or recommended location.

            Workers’ Compensation benefits consist of payment of medical expenses, reimbursement for travel to and from treatment, compensation benefits for wage loss and death, in certain circumstances, awards for permanent impairment.

            As we had previously written, Covid-19 vaccines are not presently covered under the national Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). However, compensation for serious physical injuries or death related to the Covid-19 vaccines may be recoverable through the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP).

            If you or someone you know has suffered any complications from a vaccine, call The Law Firm of Alex Dell, PLLC for a free consultation on the potential benefits available to you under the law. For over 25 years, The Law Firm of Alex Dell, PLLC has represented injured and disabled individuals throughout New York State with their New York State Workers’ Compensation, New York State Disability Retirement, Social Security Disability and Veterans Administration claims. That representation is now provided in Florida as well. 

Should you have any questions or you would like to discuss this matter with us further, please contact us at 1-866-965-2667 .

We are here to help you.

[1] Cuomo Mandates Covid Vaccine - or Weekly Tests - for NY State Workers

[2] Cuomo Urges Private Businesses to Mandate Coronavirus Vaccines

[3] Vaccine Mandates More Likely Once FDA Grants Full Approvals, Health Experts Say