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OSHA’s Abrupt Change To Recording Adverse Reactions To Covid-19 Vaccines

May 21, 2021: Written by: Christopher M. Leddy, Esq.

Fortunately, for employers, on May 21, 2021, OSHA issued updated FAQs which were inconsistent with its April 20, 2021 guidance concerning the recordation of certain adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines and thereby overrode its April 20th guidance.

Formerly, the April 20th guidance stated that an adverse reaction to the vaccine would be recordable if it met the definition of a recordable injury or illness under 29 C.F.R. 1904.4(a). However, OSHA then went on to distinguish between voluntary/recommended vaccine programs by employers and mandatory ones. Vaccine programs that were truly voluntary/recommended were not required to record an adverse reaction; whereas, mandatory vaccine programs were required to record such. In an about face, the newly issued guidance, provides that no reaction to the vaccine, regardless of whether it meets a recordable event, is required to be reported. Specifically, the new guidance states:

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