WHO approves compensation fund for COVAX vaccine side effects
Reuters, 23 February 2021
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has arranged and agreed a no-fault compensation plan for claims regarding serious side effects in individuals of 92 poorer countries because of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX sharing scheme. This has resolved a huge concern among recipient governments.
The WHO said that the programme was the first and only vaccine injury compensation mechanism that will operate on an international scale and will provide eligible people a fair, fast, robust and transparent process. It will provide a no-fault lump-sum compensation in full and final settlement of any claims received. The COVAX programme has an objective to significantly decrease the need for routes to the law courts, which is a potentially lengthy as well as costly process.
Questions related to the compensation claims in the event of any serious COVID-19 vaccine side effects are likely to be very rare but are a concern for countries who are due to get their COVID-19 shots via the COVAX plan. Also, countries who are funding their own COVID-19 vaccine procurement have planned their own liability programmes.
The WHO-agreed plan was under discussion for several months and is designed to cover almost all serious side effects associated with any COVAX-distributed vaccines till June 30, 2022, to COVAXs Advance Market Commitment-eligible economies. It is a group of 92 poorer states including most of the African and Southeast Asian countries. Initially, the programme will be financed from donor funding to the AMC as an extra charge on all the COVID-19 vaccines doses that are distributed through COVAX.
The WHO said that applications can be done through a portal at www.covaxclaims.com from March 31, 2021. Seth Berkley, who is a chief executive of the GAVI vaccine alliance co-leads COVAX, said that the agreement on the compensation fund was a huge boost for COVAX, aiming to secure reasonable global access to COVID-19 vaccines. Berkley said that it would help those countries who might have such adverse effects. It will also support manufacturers to roll out vaccines to countries much faster and is also a key benefit for lower-income governments acquiring vaccines through COVAX.
The WHO also said that it was working with the insurance firm Chubb to secure the insurance coverage for the programme.
Source: ET Healthworld