What happens if your company’s mandatory Covid-19 vaccines make you sick

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As more South African businesses require staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19, questions have been raised about employees who suffer injury, illness or death as a result of the Covid-19 vaccine.

According to legal experts at Werksmans Attorneys, these matters will be dealt with under the Occupational Injuries and Diseases Compensation Act (COIDA).

“On October 22, 2021, a note has been published in the Official Gazette under Section 6A(b) of COIDA,” the company said.

“The notice relates to compensation for side effects of Covid-19 vaccination based on employees who suffer injury, illness or death as a result of the Covid-19 vaccine in circumstances where the obligation to be vaccinated is an inherent requirement of the employee’s job or where the employee is required to do so by virtue of his or her employer’s risk assessment.”

The notice provides that if an employee is required to receive a Covid-19 vaccineeither as a result of an occupational health and safety risk assessment conducted by an employer, or where vaccination is an inherent requirement of the job, any resulting injury, illness or death will be covered by the Compensation Fundsaid Werksmans.

However, for this coverage to extend to an employee, six conditions apply:

  • Vaccination should be considered a job requirement in terms of the employer’s risk assessment;
  • The employee must have received a Covid-19 vaccine approved by Sahpra;
  • Proof of the employer’s risk assessment and vaccination plan in accordance with the consolidated guidelines on occupational health and safety measures in certain workplaces must be provided;
  • The chronological sequence between the inoculation of the vaccine and the evolution of the employee’s symptoms and clinical signs must be provided;
  • The employee must have presented symptoms and clinical signs generally recognized as side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine;
  • Additional tests may be needed to assess the presence of abnormalities of any affected organ.

Commentary by Jacques van Wyk (Director) and Andre van Heerden (Senior Partner) at Werksmans Attorneys.


Read: Investec tells staff in South Africa to get vaccinated – or pay for their own tests

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