Guidance for employers managing workers with symptoms post COVID-19 vaccination
May 21, 2021
Guidance for the screening and management of workers with symptoms within 48 hours of COVID-19 vaccination
Please be advised that new guidance is available from the Ontario Ministry of Health that provides clarity on the process of managing workers who are experiencing symptoms within 48 hours of receiving a dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The guidance specifically pertains to those workers who are required to work in-person and who received COVID-19 vaccine in the 48 hours prior to being at work. It does not apply to workers experiencing post-vaccination symptoms who have also had a known exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days. These workers should immediately self-isolate and seek medical consultation.
While workers may experience some side effects associated with vaccination, such as injection site reactions, fatigue, headache and myalgia, it is important to rule out the possibility of infection. Screening for symptoms and exposure history are essential for decision making.
Guidance for workplace screening
Upon arrival to the workplace workers should:
- Be actively screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure history.
- Not enter the workplace and self-isolate and seek medical consultation if they have any of the following symptoms:
- cough/barking cough
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- difficulty swallowing
- decrease or loss of smell or taste
- pink eye
- runny or stuff/congestion
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain
- extreme fatigue
- unexplained falls
- Within the 48 hours after the time of vaccination, if the worker is experiencing mild symptoms of headache, fatigue, muscle ache/joint pain, with symptom onset after vaccination and feeling well enough to work, the worker may enter the workplace and:
- Report symptoms to their manager/occupational health prior to entering the workplace. Symptoms should be documented.
- Wear a procedure/surgical mask for source control for entire duration of shift (exceptions for eating and drinking) and maintain physical distance from others.
- Not enter the workplace if COVID-19 is suspected at any point for any reason.
- Continue to monitor for symptoms and leave the workplace immediately if symptoms become worse, additional symptoms develop, symptoms interfere with ability to perform work, or continue greater than 48 hours after vaccination.
Unless confirmed to be COVID-19 disease, any potential adverse event following immunization should be reported (by the worker or through their health care provider) to Public Health at 705.522.9200, ext. 458 or toll-free 1.866.522.9200.
For further information on managing workers with symptoms post COVID-19 vaccination including availability of financial supports for those required to self-isolate, please visit: https://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/2019_guidance.aspx#guidance. Updated screening tools will be posted to the Ministry of Health website once finalized.
This item was last modified on May 25, 2021