Wed, December 08, 2021

in-focus

Prompt no-fault compensation for post-jab adverse events boosts confidence, speeds herd immunity


Information compiled from injections of more than 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine around the world has shown side effects and adverse events following vaccination are extremely rare.

However, the fact is some people may still experience some side effects from any vaccine, even after they are fully developed and no matter what the brand. All Covid-19 vaccines currently available are approved for emergency use only.

Public confidence in the safety of Covid-19 vaccines continues to be undermined by news reports about side effects and suspected adverse events after vaccination, ranging from mild events such as dizziness, vomiting, fever, numbness, and weakness in legs or arms, to serious ones such as coma and death.

This is why it is crucial to keep boosting public confidence that the government’s vaccination programme will not only help mitigate the severity of the disease but also build up herd immunity for the entire country when at least 70 per cent of the entire population is fully vaccinated.

“Side effects of Covid-19 vaccines are something we can never deny,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.

“This is why all vaccine recipients are required to stay half an hour longer for observation of possible side effects that normally occur within this period. And this should improve public confidence in the vaccination programme.”

Meanwhile, the National Health Security Office (NHSO) is offering financial compensation as preliminary assistance to anyone who suffers these unwanted consequences of Covid-19 vaccination.

The compensation is being offered under Section 41 of the 2002 National Health Security Act, which normally deals with preliminary assistance for parties suffering health damages following a healthcare service received under the Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS).

Before the launch of the compensation scheme, additional rules were issued to specify terms and conditions that offer financial compensation to parties suffering a significant health condition suspected to have been caused by Covid-19 vaccination.

This is a social mechanism to provide preliminary assistance to help alleviate suffering without having to wait for the final results of a medical investigation.

Anyone who has recently been injected with a Covid-19 vaccine and afterwards developed any health conditions suspected to be linked to the vaccination has every right to believe these conditions may have been caused by the vaccine.

And this is consistent with the medical view that these Covid-19 vaccines can have side effects while still approved for emergency use only. The real cause of the suspected health conditions will later be proved via formal medical investigation.

The process of seeking this preliminary financial assistance is not complicated. In case of death after Covid-19 vaccination, for instance, a relative of the deceased may submit a request for financial compensation to either the hospital that carried out the vaccination in question, their local Provincial Public Health Office, or their closest NHSO branch office. Other channels for submitting the request include health volunteers or an independent complaints unit receiving authorised by Section 50(5) of the 2002 National Health Security Act. The NHSO has already appointed subcommittees to handle these requests in all 13 health regions. Each subcommittee consists of medical experts who will examine cases to decide which ones merit the financial compensation. The subcommittees will base their judgement on the patient’s medical history.

So, every case suspected of being linked to Covid-19 vaccination should be submitted immediately to the compensation subcommittee for consideration.

If the subcommittee agrees that the case deserves compensation, this will normally be paid by the NHSO within five days.

The money will be transferred to the bank account presented by the party concerned. And even if a formal medical investigation later finds no link between the vaccination and the adverse event, the compensation payment will not be recalled.

The reason for this is that the compensation money is simply intended as preliminary assistance in the no-fault compensation programme.

“Currently, a total of 344 requests for compensation have been received and the NHSO has already paid compensation in 239 cases, totalling 3.01 million baht [as of June 4],” Anutin said.

“Most of these cases dealt with mild symptoms that occurred after the vaccination, such as numbness. And of all six requests for compensation in case of post-jab deaths, four have so far been granted. These were in Pathum Thani, Songkhla, Phrae and Tak.”

The no-fault compensation idea has been recognised worldwide for its benefits, protection of vaccine recipients and as an incentive for more people to come forward to receive the anti-Covid-19 jab.

In March this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched an international compensation programme aimed at easing the suffering of those affected by Covid-19 vaccination without them having to go to court to demand compensation.

The no-fault compensation idea isn’t new. Thailand is one of about 25 of the 194 WHO member nations that have adopted no-fault compensation programmes for damages stemming from medical and healthcare services in general.

This is proof that Thailand is now on the right track in its efforts to build up immunity against Covid-19 as a way of surviving the virus crisis.

Published : July 02, 2021

By : The Nation