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Forced vaccination of migrant workers illegal: labor authorities

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Note: Taiwan's vaccine rollout began on March 22, first with doses from AstraZeneca, then the Moderna ones on June 9.

Taipei, July 24 (CNA) Employers cannot force migrant workers to take a COVID-19 vaccine, the Workforce Development Agency said in a statement Saturday, following rumors about such incidents.

The employers and labor brokers of migrant workers should encourage them to get COVID-19 vaccine shots, but any effort to achieve that by ignoring their wishes is illegal, the agency said.

Similarly, migrant workers should not be prohibited from receiving a vaccine shot by their employers or brokers, the agency said.

Such actions constitute a criminal offence under the Criminal Code and are punishable by a fine ranging from NT$60,000 (US$2,142) to NT$300,000 according to the Employment Service Act, the agency said.

The statement was issued after rumors circulated on social media that some migrant workers have been forced to sign a document promising that they would receive COVID-19 vaccines.

It was not immediately clear whether the Ministry of Labor has received any complaints over such incidents.

Meanwhile, the agency encouraged migrant workers to get vaccinated as soon as vaccine shots are available, adding they can register through an online system developed by the Cabinet to facilitate vaccination appointments.

If a migrant worker experiences a serious adverse reaction after inoculation, their employer or broker should make sure they see a doctor immediately.

In such instances migrant workers can apply for compensation to the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), the agency said.

The MOHW has launched a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which provides a payment of up to NT$6 million in cases involving people who suffer severe adverse reactions or even die after being vaccinated in Taiwan.

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