95,321,880 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2,058,227 deaths, have been reported to the WHO (21/01/2021). On the day that Donald Trump departed from the White House, over 400,000 Americans lost their lives due to the Virus. These are shocking statistics.
As the Irish Government prepares to roll out the immunisation programme, the question is: can employers force their employees to take the vaccination?
A survey commissioned by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association reported that 12% of Irish people would not take the vaccine with a further 33.5% unsure. This may raise difficulties for employers, as they could face legal and ethical dilemmas if any staff refuse to take the jab. There are also potential discrimination risks to consider, such as an employee objecting on religious or medical grounds. The Government is unlikely to make it mandatory as it would be an infringement on civil liberties. Instead, it is more likely it will push businesses to encourage their staff to get vaccinated.
Studies suggest the vaccine is up to 95% effective. What if the side effects appear later? An employer could potentially be subject to claims through the courts by employees, who were forced into having first-generation vaccinations. Employers should proceed with caution by encouraging, but not mandating, their Staff to take the vaccine.
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