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S.Korea nurse eligible for gov't benefit after COVID-19 vaccine reaction

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SEOUL, Aug 6 (Reuters) - For the first time in South Korea, a nursing assistant who suffered paralysis after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine was recognised as a victim of an industrial accident, making her eligible for government benefits and financial compensation.

The nursing assistant, who has not been publicly named, received AstraZeneca's shot on March 12 and later suffered from double vision and paralysis and was diagnosed with acute encephalomyelitis, according to a statement by the state-run Korea Workers' Compensation & Welfare Service on Friday.

The service concluded that she is eligible for government compensation and benefits under the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act, because her medical situation was related to her work.

AstraZeneca and South Korean health authorities were not immediately available for comment.

The woman did not have underlying conditions and there seemed to be a "a reasonable causal link between the side effects and the vaccination," the service's statement said.

South Korea's government offers up to 10 million won ($8,747) in financial support to anyone who suffers serious side effects from the coronavirus vaccines, but this would be the first case where the side effects are considered an industrial accident.

Health care workers were among the first to be eligible for the vaccines in South Korea and they were encouraged by employers to be vaccinated, but the country did not mandate that they receive the shots. (Reporting by Sangmi Cha; Writing by Josh Smith; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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