Friday, July 30, 2021

in-focus

NHSO eager to compensate for any adverse effects from Covid-19 vaccination


The chief of the National Health Security Office (NHSO) has assured that all Covid-19 vaccine recipients who experience adverse after-effects can seek compensation.

Dr Jadej Thammatach-aree, the NHSO secretary-general, recently clarified on the compensation programme.

Vaccine recipients should never decide on their own whether the symptoms they are experiencing after vaccination are side-effects of the vaccine or not, said Dr Jadej.

"Instead they should notify the NHSO about these symptoms and the NHSO’s subcommittee responsible for processing a request for financial compensation in each health region, comprising a sufficient number of medical experts, would decide on the request," he said.

And if the subcommittee agrees that the case deserves compensation, the amount would be paid within five working days, he said.

Jadej made it clear thay these Covid-19 vaccines have been approved for emergency use only, which means some side-effects could be experienced by a number of vaccine recipients.

Even vaccines fully developed may still have some side-effects and are not totally safe, he said.

However, he added that the risk of side-effects from the Covid-19 vaccines could not be compared with the risks from being infected by the novel coronavirus, citing the data collected from more than 100 million vaccinations worldwide.

“We can’t say there aren’t any side-effects. But several side-effects can actually be mitigated or cured [if a medical intervention is performed in time],” he said.

That is the reason why all vaccine recipients are advised to remain at the vaccination venue for about half an hour after inoculation for observation, as the side-effects usually occur in the first 30 minutes after injection, he said.

In the case of a death that follows a recent Covid-19 vaccination, he said the death should first be assumed to have been caused by the vaccination, as the vaccine has been approved for emergency use only.

“I believe every medical doctor should first bear in mind such a death may have something to do with the vaccine injected and then continue to prove until it becomes clear if it was the vaccine that had caused the death,” he said.

"Personally, I wonder why some medical doctors were quick to rule out the Covid-19 vaccine as the possible cause of some recent deaths reported by the media. These medical doctors should have presumed the vaccine could be the cause of these deaths until it is actually ruled out in a formal investigation," he said.

He clarified that financial compensation being offered in case of Covid-19 vaccination adverse events, allowed under Section 41 of the 2002 National Health Security Act, is simply preliminary assistance.

That explains why no results of a formal investigation into these suspected vaccination adverse events are required before the financial compensation is paid to the affected party, he said.

“Just submit your requests and the NHSO’s 13 subcommittees in all health regions nationwide will examine your cases with the help of a panel of medical experts who will base their decisions on your medical history and all other information concerned,” he said.

“So, please submit every suspected case to the subcommittee, even if your doctors told you it wasn’t the vaccine that caused these suspected symptoms. The subcommittee will examine and decide on the case, not your doctors or anyone else,” he said.

Since the NHSO hasn’t specified as to how long after vaccination a person experiencing side-effects suspected to be caused by vaccine can submit a request for compensation, he said a request could be submitted even two weeks after inoculation.

In case of illnesses or injuries suspected to have been caused by side-effects of the Covid-19 vaccine, even though the NHSO has indicated that only “persistent conditions” will be compensated, those suffering temporary conditions can still submit their cases to the NHSO for consideration, he said.

“A key reason behind our willingness to receive all complaints about possible side-effects of the vaccine is because we would like to hear about as many as possible side-effects of the vaccine as possible. And there is no better way to know than to listen to the vaccine recipients,” he said.

“Without feedback from vaccine recipients, improvement in vaccine development won’t happen,” he said.

“We also want to know what type of side-effects of the vaccine we will have to prepare to cope with when a larger number of people get vaccinated.

“The decision on who will or will not be compensated is made by the NHSO subcommittee,” he reiterated.

“And once again the money already paid as preliminary assistance to affected parties under the subcommittee’s decisions won’t be recalled, no matter what happens later,” he said.

As soon as the subcommittee approves the compensation, the payment is normally done in five working days after that, said the NHSO secretary-general.

Over the past three weeks, after the compensation programme was launched, about 260 requests for compensation have been received, 162 of which have already been paid, he said.

The most common form of symptoms compensated was persistent numbness, which ranged from one day to a month, he said.

A total of six requests for death compensation have also been received, he said.

The request submission is very simple, as only some information is needed when filling in a compensation request form, namely the national ID number, the name of the vaccination venue, symptoms and a bank account number, he said.

The request form may be submitted to the vaccination venue, the Provincial Public Health Office or the NHSO’s regional offices, he said.

Following the launch of the mass vaccination drive on June 7, 2021, the NHSO now allows health volunteers across the country to receive filled in compensation request forms from affected vaccine recipients and submit them on their behalf to the NHSO through the three main channels, he said.

The NHSO’s regional offices are now assigned to monitor posts on social media that may contain complaints about possible adverse effects from the Covid-19 vaccination. They will promptly contact the persons posting the information online to help them seek compensation, he said.

Because the compensation programme for adverse events following Covid-19 vaccination is new in Thailand, it will need more time to be adjusted and fine-tuned, he said.

Contact NHSO hotline 1330 for any questions about compensation.

Because the compensation programme for adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination is such a new process in Thailand, it will need more time to be adjusted and fine-tuned, he said.

Any questions about the compensation programme are therefore encouraged to be asked without hesitation to the NHSO hotline 1330.

Published : June 25, 2021

By : The Nation