County workers get health care for vaccine injuries

Bill provides health care for those injured by vaccine

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The Affton School District vaccinated every teacher and staff member who wanted a COVID-19 vaccine at an event at Affton High School Monday, March 15, 2021, seen above.

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The St. Louis County Council passed a bill last week that would provide health care for employees who are injured by the COVID-19 vaccine. 

By a vote of 4-2, the council voted in favor Oct. 26 of a bill that guarantees free healthcare for county employees who get ill or are injured because of the COVID-19 vaccine. It also awards $1 million to a beneficiary if an employee dies because of the vaccine. 

This would only be acceptable in cases that an employee got the vaccine to keep their job due to the vaccine mandate for all county workers. County workers must be vaccinated or face weekly testing for COVID. 

Council Chairwoman Rita Days, who represents the 1st District, joined Republicans Ernie Trakas of the 6th District, 3rd District Councilman Tim Fitch and 7th District Councilman Mark Harder in support of the legislation, while 5th District Councilwoman Lisa Clancy and 4th District Councilwoman Shalonda Webb, both Democrats, were opposed. Second District Councilwoman Kelli Dunaway, also a Democrat, was not present at the meeting. 

The legislation was sponsored by Fitch, who did not speak on the bill last Tuesday. In addition to awarding health care to those who get ill or are injured, as well as the $1 million in the event an employee dies from the vaccine, the legislation also offers some protections for employees who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and subsequently test positive for it. The legislation states that any fully vaccinated employee who tests positive will not have to use their accrued paid time off or sick leave for recovery or quarantine. 

“I would like to state for the record that this bill is built on the premise that vaccines are not safe,” Clancy said prior to voting. “Vaccines are safe and effective. They do not hurt people. I am a no on this bill.” 

The Centers for Disease Control tracks unexpected medical problems after vaccines and found that serious side effects related to the COVID-19 vaccine are rare. As of Oct. 25, over 414 million doses of the available COVID-19 vaccines have been given in the U.S. 

According to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, there have 1,698 reports of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, as of Oct. 20. 

Most cases have been reported after a Pfizer dose or Moderna dose, of which over 394 million doses have been administered. Through follow-up, the CDC confirmed 963 of those cases and are investigating its relationship to the COVID-19 vaccine. 

There have also been reports of blood clots after receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. As of Oct. 20, more than 15.3 million of the Johnson & Johsnon vaccine have been given in the U.S., and the CDC has confirmed 47 reports of people developing blood clots following the vaccine. There have also been two confirmed cases of blood clots following the Moderna vaccine. 

Reports of deaths are also rare. Of the hundreds of millions of doses given, VAERS has received 9,143 reports of death among people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration requires that healthcare providers report any death following a COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it is unknown if the vaccine is the cause.