Q&A – Employer Vaccine Mandates In Florida
Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.
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Today’s entry: Thank you Brian for your factual reporting I listen everyday. One question no one wants to address including my employer (is if someone has had an) adverse reaction to vaccine who is financially responsible? My company has mandated but will not answer? They were so afraid of being sued if someone caught covid at work. But no worries if someone has horrible reaction and let’s face it some have died.
Bottom Line: I’m going to say this the nicest way possible. If indeed this is your employer’s policy/rational for vaccine mandates –they're either clueless or they’re trying to make excuses for implementing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. I’ll get into the finer points in a moment but first to address the bigger issue here...I’ve increasingly been hearing from listeners who have similar but different stories about justifications for vaccine mandates that aren’t rooted in law or reality. I suspect that as we’re now potentially within two weeks of having OSHA implement Biden’s get vaxed or get fired mandate, some employers are looking to get out ahead of it and are using false information to justify it. To your first question as to who is financially responsible if someone has an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine. The answer is no one.
The first major determination regarding liability protection during the pandemic came from the US Department of Health and Human Services in the earliest days of impact in the United States. Specifically, this was the determination: In March 2020, the Secretary issued a PREP Act Declaration covering COVID-19 tests, drugs and vaccines providing liability protections to manufacturers, distributors, states, localities, licensed healthcare professionals, and others identified by the Secretary (qualified persons) who administer COVID-19 countermeasures. The Declaration has been amended several times to expand liability protections, including prior amendments to cover licensed healthcare professionals who cross state borders and federal response teams. The purpose of the removal of liability from every tool in the pandemic tool kit was to encourage as many manufactures as possible to develop and manufacture all related products. It was a huge success, capped off by the record setting development of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the year. All approved vaccines, including those with only emergency authorized use, remain immune from liability for the companies which manufacture them and all authorized personal who deploy them. Specific to companies...
OSHA is the body which regulates workplace liability considerations and they likewise have provided immunity. At the time of the rollout of the vaccines, OSHA, under the Department of Labor, issued this directive: DOL and OSHA, as well as other federal agencies, are working diligently to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. 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. Thus, any vaccine policy of any business or organization is immune from vaccine liability until June of next year at a minimum.
I say this as a former business owner who had dozens of employees and had to ensure compliance with OSHA guidelines. There’s simply no excuse for employers not being aware of these policies. But further to your point, your concern and that of anyone else in a similar situation... If your employer is attempting to use these excuses, send them this story with the direct links in it to these federal policies. If they’re indeed misguided, they can correct their policy accordingly. And if they’re being disingenuous, you’ll know rather quickly.
In related news, Governor DeSantis recently suggested that the state legislature consider removing the liability protection for employers who issue COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the upcoming state session – though that’s a long way from becoming a reality and isn’t applicable currently.