Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations? Exploring the Ramifications of This

Mandatory COVID Vaccine.On the Way

The COVID-19 vaccine will soon become available to the public on a mass-scale. Although many will offer to take it, some people may not be comfortable taking it. This could be due to religious observance, or due to underlying health reasons, such an already existing significant allergy to a “vaccine, medicine, or food” (In reference to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine).[1] At certain worksites and in high-risk jobs, COVID-19 vaccinations may be mandated by an employer.

Side Effects Similar to the Flu Vaccine

What kinds of side effects may one experience in the short-term after getting vaccinated?

  • Sore arms, or pain at the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle Pain
  • Fever
  • Chills[2]
  • Joint Pain[3]
  • Swelling[4]

Serious Side Effects

Although rare, there may be serious side effects which every person should be acquainted with before they get a vaccine. Checking if you have a history of these between yourself or your family with a doctor may be beneficial:

  • Transverse myelitis, a neurological condition
  • Bell’s palsy, facial paralysis, although the CDC states there is no causal relationship between the vaccine group and the general population[5][6]
  • Appendicitis
  • Severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis[7]
  • Lymphadenopathy, or swollen lymph nodes
  • Acute myocardical infarction, or heart attack
  • Cerebrovascular accident, or stroke[8]

Workers’ Compensation From the COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccinations mandated by an employer which harm the employee could lead to a workers’ compensation claim.[9] Employers have incentive to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine to employees if they believe that the nature of their work is such that employees and the consumers, or people, they interact with will be significantly safer. There is precedent in doing so. In Hustvet v. Allina Health Sys., the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a healthcare network’s requirement that its workers receive a vaccination against rubella as a requirement of employment due partly to working with “vulnerable patients”.[10][11] Although, the list of employers that may want to mandate a vaccination is more expansive than the health-care industry, such as, police forces, teachers, grocery, and meatpacking workers.[12][13]

What Options Do I Have?

What if you do not want to get a vaccine yet are mandated by your employer to do so?

You can claim protection under the National Labor Relations Act. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act provides protection to employees who engage in “concerted activity”, or who collectively discuss and protest the condition(s) under which they are subject to.[14] Consulting with your union would help in this regard.

You can also claim protection under Title VII (religious discrimination), whereas an employee must have a “sincerely held religious belief” against a vaccination.[15]

Lastly, if you believe you may suffer an adverse reaction to the vaccine, you can claim protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This would involve letting your employer know of your disability and requesting reasonable accommodation. In Ruggiero vs. Mount Nittany Med. Ctr,, the Third Circuit declared a healthcare worker’s dismissal of her case premature, when she rejected an employer-mandated vaccination based on a history of allergies.[16][17]

For some, doing research on the potential side-effects of the vaccine would help. Nonetheless, this vaccine is slated to bring society back to normality, and everyone should be encouraged to take it, regardless of short-term side effects, notwithstanding the other issues discussed.

[1] “What We Know about COVID-19 Vaccines and Side Effects.” Medical Xpress, Medical Xpress, 12 Dec. 2020, medicalxpress.com/news/2020-12-covid-vaccines-side-effects.html.

[2] Person. “LIST: COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects from the CDC.” ABC7 New York, ABC, Inc., WABC-TV New York, 14 Dec. 2020, abc7ny.com/vaccine-side-effects-covid-palsy-paralysis/8768566/.

[3] Miller, Korin. “Will the COVID-19 Vaccine Have Side Effects? Here’s What Doctors Know so Far.” Prevention, Hearst Magazine Media, Inc., 14 Dec. 2020, www.prevention.com/health/a34833921/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccine-side-effects/.

[4] National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Local Reactions, Systemic Reactions, Adverse Events, and Serious Adverse Events: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services, 13 Dec. 2020, www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/pfizer/reactogenicity.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fvaccines%2Fcovid-19%2Finfo-by-manufacturer%2Fpfizer%2Freactogenicity.html.

[5] “What We Know about COVID-19 Vaccines and Side Effects.” Medical Xpress, Medical Xpress, 12 Dec. 2020, medicalxpress.com/news/2020-12-covid-vaccines-side-effects.html.

[6] National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Local Reactions, Systemic Reactions, Adverse Events, and Serious Adverse Events: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services, 13 Dec. 2020, www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/pfizer/reactogenicity.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fvaccines%2Fcovid-19%2Finfo-by-manufacturer%2Fpfizer%2Freactogenicity.html.

[7] Wood, Nicholas, and Ketaki Sharma. “People with Severe Allergies to Previous Vaccinations Warned off Pfizer COVID Vaccine-for Now.” Medical Xpress, Medical Xpress, 11 Dec. 2020, medicalxpress.com/news/2020-12-people-severe-allergies-previous-vaccinations.html.

[8] National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Local Reactions, Systemic Reactions, Adverse Events, and Serious Adverse Events: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services, 13 Dec. 2020, www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/pfizer/reactogenicity.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fvaccines%2Fcovid-19%2Finfo-by-manufacturer%2Fpfizer%2Freactogenicity.html.

[9] Widener, B. E. Can Employers Require Employees to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19? National Law Forum, LLC. 25 Nov. 2020, https://www.natlawreview.com/article/can-employers-require-employees-to-be-vaccinated-against-covid-19

[10] Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia. “Employers Can Require COVID-19 Vaccination. Here’s What Companies and Workers Need to Know.” Chicago Tribune, Chicago Tribune, 14 Dec. 2020, www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-can-employers-mandate-covid-19-vaccine-20201214-kjus5kfoaffs5asw5zed26sttm-story.html.

[11] Widener, B. E. (2020, November 25). Can Employers Require Employees to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19? Retrieved December 15, 2020, from https://www.natlawreview.com/article/can-employers-require-employees-to-be-vaccinated-against-covid-19

[12] Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia. “Employers Can Require COVID-19 Vaccination. Here’s What Companies and Workers Need to Know.” Chicago Tribune, Chicago Tribune, 14 Dec. 2020, www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-can-employers-mandate-covid-19-vaccine-20201214-kjus5kfoaffs5asw5zed26sttm-story.html.

[13] Widener, B. E. Can Employers Require Employees to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19? National Law Forum, LLC. 25 Nov. 2020, https://www.natlawreview.com/article/can-employers-require-employees-to-be-vaccinated-against-covid-19

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] “Aleka Ruggiero v. Mount Nittany Medical Center, No. 17-2227 (3d Cir. 2018).” Justia Law, Justia, law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca3/17-2227/17-2227-2018-06-05.html.

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