OSHA says employers who mandate the COVID vaccine won't have to report its adverse effects

Agency wants to avoid "discouraging workers" from receiving shot.

Published: May 29, 2021 1:01pm

Updated: May 29, 2021 10:42pm

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has relaxed its rules for reporting work-related adverse events involving the COVID-19 vaccine, releasing employers from an earlier requirement that they report any incidents suffered by their employees due to a mandated vaccine. 

In April, OSHA said on its website that any businesses that require the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment are required to report adverse reactions that arise from an employee's taking the vaccine. 

"If you require your employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment (i.e., for work-related reasons), then any adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is work-related," the agency said, directing employers to follow standard reporting protocol in such cases. 

Yet by this month, OSHA had reversed that determination, updating the guidance on its website to clarify that employers no longer have to make an entry in the business's "OSHA recordkeeping log" if an employee experiences a medical event due to the vaccine. 

"[The Department of Labor] and OSHA, as well as other federal agencies, are working diligently to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations," the new guidance states. "OSHA does not wish to have any appearance of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19 vaccination, and also does not wish to disincentivize employers' vaccination efforts." 

"As a result, OSHA will not enforce 29 CFR 1904's recording requirements to require any employers to record worker side effects from COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022. We will reevaluate the agency's position at that time to determine the best course of action moving forward."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, has listed numerous potentially fatal adverse events associated with the COVID-19 vaccine, though all of them appear to be rare relative to the tens of millions of shots administered so far. 

Among those alleged adverse events is "thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome," a condition which involves blood clots, as well as anaphylaxis, a condition which, in the rare instances it has been reported, "almost always occurs within 30 minutes after vaccination."

The CDC, via its Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, says that several thousand deaths have occurred following the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, though "a review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines."

"Over 285 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through May 24, 2021," the agency reported on its website."During this time, VAERS received 4,863 reports of death (0.0017%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine."

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