Multiple COVID-19 vaccines are here and becoming more widely available to Americans as each week goes by. For many businesses, the end goal of widespread vaccination would allow them to open up their doors again and start becoming profitable after a difficult year, so it is no surprise that many employers across Illinois are requiring their employees to get vaccinated before returning to work. Some workers are worried, though, because there is always a risk of a negative reaction to a vaccine*. If you suffer a negative reaction to a COVID vaccine that your employer required, can you get workers’ compensation benefits for that injury or illness?
Under Section 11 of The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, injuries related to work-required vaccinations are valid reasons to file a workers’ compensation claim. This section was originally written with smallpox vaccinations in mind, but it still applies to vaccinations to this day, including COVID-19 vaccinations. In short, if you get a vaccine for work in Illinois, and that vaccine gives you a negative reaction that makes you miss work or require medical care, then you can file for workers’ compensation.
Can a COVID Vaccine Hurt You?
Symptoms and side effects of vaccines*, including coronavirus vaccines, can include:
- Full body weakness
- Multiday flu-like illness
In extremely rare cases, vaccinations can cause an anaphylactic reaction in the patient. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening complication that requires immediate medical attention. For this reason, vaccination sites are requiring patients to wait 30 minutes before leaving for monitoring and emergency intervention in case of an anaphylactic reaction.
What Vaccine Injuries Justify Workers’ Comp?
Medical professionals expect the average person to experience some mild to moderate side effects of the coronavirus vaccines. Most of these side effects should dissipate within 24 to 48 hours after beginning. If your work is requiring you to get a vaccination, then your employer should plan to provide you with extra sick days as your body reacts to the vaccine and begins to build its own antibodies to fight the virus.
You will probably only become eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if:
- Side effects affect you long enough to miss a week of work or longer.
- Anaphylactic reaction occurs and you require medical treatment.
The average worker will likely be ineligible for workers’ compensation after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine because they will not experience any persistent or dangerous side effects. However, if you think you might have a good reason to file for workers’ comp after getting the vaccine, then you should speak with a local workers’ compensation attorney who can hear the details of your case and reach that conclusion using their insight and experience. For workers here in Chicago, Leonard Law Group is the name to trust. We have been assisting workers from all industries for decades and with great service benefits that you won’t find at most other law firms, like zero upfront costs and free second opinions. For more information about our services and your options, contact us online today for a no-cost case evaluation.
This discussion is not meant to deter you, your employees, or anyone in your family from getting a COVID-19 vaccination. The chances of suffering a negative reaction to a vaccine are incredibly small compared to the risk of contracting the dangerous virus, and not all reactions are dangerous. If you have any questions or concerns about receiving a coronavirus vaccine, then we encourage you to speak with your medical provider for more information before deciding to opt out of vaccination.