(c) 2010-2024 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

COVID Boosters: What Employees and Employers Need to Know

Many employers and state governments are mandating that employees be vaccinated against COVID. Confusion remains over the rapidly changing landscape of booster doses as reports of waning or compromised immunity even though a worker is considered “fully vaccinated” when the original series of doses are completed. 

The Veterans Health Administration [VHA] has been at the forefront of mandating vaccinations in the occupational arena, produced a webinar that helps clarify the options available for COVID booster doses. Chad Kessler, MD moderates a discussion with Gio Baracco, M.D,  Joe Francis, M.D., and Michael Gelman, MD, Ph.D.,  on how the Veterans Administration handles booster doses.

Employers are confronted with multiple and complex issues involving the implementation of vaccine mandates, masking, and testing liability issues if they undertake a company-provided COVID vaccination mandate initiative. Complicating the current COVID surge, the influenza vaccination season is underway, and the protocols for the flu vaccination have also been published.

A panel of medical experts offers insight into:

•The difference between the "Third Initial Dose" and the "Booster"
•Why third initial doses and boosters are authorized by the FDA and recommended   by
         the CDC
•Who should be receiving the initial third doses and boosters
•Updates regarding the vaccine and children under 12
•How to treat someone who has tested positive but does not need to be admitted
•What is happening with COVID in other countries

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced two upcoming meetings of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) to discuss newly available data for the currently available COVID-19 vaccines. On Oct. 14 and 15, the advisory committee will meet to discuss the use of booster doses of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. Both vaccines are currently authorized for emergency use to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older. The committee will also hear presentations and discuss the available data on the use of a booster of a different vaccine than the one used for the primary series of an authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine (heterologous or “mix and match” booster). 

An employer may be held liable for an adverse reaction to a vaccination under the Mutual Benefit Doctrine. “Where there is an activity that is mutually beneficial to both the employer and the employee, that activity is deemed to be in the course of employment, and any injury or disease resulting from participation in the activity justifies compensability. Where an activity engaged in by the employee constitutes a clear and substantial benefit to the employer and takes place on independent ground, the court will conclude that any injury or disease arising out of the activity arose in the course of employment. This is the conclusion even where the activity benefits the employee even though the employer may not have controlled the activity. Gelman, Jon L, Workers’ Compensation Law, 38 NJPRAC 10.19 (Thomson-Reuters 2021).

The mandate has been judicially challenged. A court issued a temporary restraining order against United Airlines. The Governor of Texas has banned vaccination mandates creating uncertainly for employers and workers.

The trend toward vaccine mandates is escalating following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older. The expansion of vaccine mandates is anticipated as President Biden is encouraging adoption by more employers. Also, insurance companies are requesting increased premium adjustments for insurance coverage of unvaccinated workers.

I encourage you to listen to this informative 30-minute Webinar/Podcast. Booster doses are going to be an essential tool to curb the occupational spread of COVID-19. If and when boosters doses are appropriate is critical in the battle against COVID and pandemic response and preparedness.


On October 12, 2021 the FDA committee unanimously approved vaccines for some individuals who have been fully vaccinated with the Moderna series. The FDA’s VRBPAC meetings are available on the agency’s YouTube page (Oct. 14 meeting linkExternal Link DisclaimerOct. 15 meeting linkExternal Link DisclaimerOct. 26 meeting linkExternal Link Disclaimer), which is viewable on the agency’s FacebookExternal Link Disclaimer and TwitterExternal Link Disclaimer channels; the meetings will also be webcast from the FDA website.


On October 13, 2021 the FDA committee unanimously approved vaccines a second dose of Janssen after 2+ mo for those 18 ys+ old.

Both the Moderna and Janssen recommendations require: FDA authorization, ACIP approval  (Oct 20-21) and the final CDC will make a final recommendation.

New CDC Vaccination Data

The CDC is now publishing age-related, cases and deaths, for COVID.

Podcast Link:

The Veterans Health Administration produces COVID in 20 [C20]. This podcast is a twice-weekly expert panel discussion from the field for discussing COVID and related topics. Clinical providers will talk about what they are doing now and what others can do to prepare better.

Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L., COVID Boosters: What Employees and Employers Need to Know, Workers' Compensation Blog (Sept. 13, 2021),

Related Articles

OSHA cites insurance agency for exposing workers to coronavirus 10/8/21

Is It Your Employer’s Business if You Are Vaccinated? 10/8/21

Methylene Chloride Continues to be a Fatal Hazard in the Workplace 9/7/21

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Long COVID 9/7/21

Italy’s Covid Vaccine Mandate Comes Into Force, a First for a Western Democracy NYTimes 10/15/21

Workers across Italy face a new reality: No health pass, no paycheck NYTimes 10/15/21


Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Blog: Workers ' Compensation

Twitter: jongelman

LinkedIn: JonGelman

LinkedIn Group: Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group

Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" West-Thomson-Reuters

Updated: Oct. 15, 2021 5:11pm