WHO to create COVID insurance scheme for vaccine side effects in poor countries


BRUSSELS – A vaccination program co-led by the World Health Organization sets up a compensation fund for people in poor countries who may suffer from side effects of COVID-19 vaccines, aimed at allaying fears that could hamper deployment global vaccine.

The mechanism aims to avoid a repeat of the delays recorded a decade ago during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, when vaccinations were slowed down in dozens of low-income countries because there was no clear accountability .

The program is being put in place by the promoters of the COVAX vaccination facility, which is co-led by the WHO and GAVI, a global vaccine alliance, a COVAX document released Thursday said. COVAX aims to distribute at least 2 billion effective snapshots worldwide by the end of next year.

The program could foot the bill for 92 low-income countries, mostly in Africa and Southeast Asia, meaning their governments would have to bear little or no costs related to patient complaints, should something unexpected happen. after administration of a COVAX vaccine. .

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However, dozens of middle-income countries, such as South Africa, Lebanon, Gabon, Iran and most Latin American states, would not be offered this protection.

“The COVAX facility is developing a system to provide compensation to individuals in any of 92 economies… who suffer from unexpected SAEs (serious adverse events) associated with these vaccines or their administration,” COVAX said.

The criteria used to select the 92 nations were not clear.

Recording speed

While side effects are rare from a vaccine that has received regulatory approval, the public is more concerned about COVID-19 injections given the record speed at which they are developed – a risk highlighted by the in place of the insurance fund itself. .

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There is no internationally approved COVID-19 vaccine yet, but the WHO estimates that the first could be ready by December, just a year after the virus first appeared in China. It usually takes years to develop vaccines.

Under the compensation scheme, countries using COVAX vaccines would compensate drug manufacturers at least until July 2022.

COVAX said vaccine manufacturers were reluctant to provide vaccines for distribution in countries that did not offer them liability protection.

Instead of insurers, who normally cover these costs, any compensation for victims of side effects would be paid through the new mechanism developed by COVAX.

The no-fault program would pay a lump sum sump based on the severity of damage to victims of side effects that may be associated with administering COVID-19 vaccines, COVAX said.

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The mechanism would be funded by a levy on vaccines distributed to poor countries and other possible sources, including contributions from vaccine manufacturers, COVAX said. However, it was not clear who would be required to pay the royalty.

The regime could deter potential victims from going to court to seek redress, resulting in lengthy proceedings and potentially much higher liability costs.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; additional reporting by Karen Lema in Manila; editing by Alison Williams, Nick Macfie and Pravin Char)

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