The World Health Organisation has agreed to compensate people in 92 low and middle-income countries that reacted to the COVID-19 COVAX vaccines without the need to resort to law courts.
According to the WHO, the program will be operated by ESIS, a subsidiary of the Zurich-based multinational insurance company Chubb Limited.
The commission also added that the compensation mechanism would be funded by a small levy on each dose supported by the vaccine alliance, Gavi COVAX AMC (Advance Market Commitment).
“This is the first and only global vaccine injury compensation mechanism” operating on an international scale, the WHO statement said.
According to WHO, the program, No-Fault Compensation, will offer eligible individuals “a fast, fair, robust and transparent process to receive compensation for rare but serious adverse events associated with COVAX-distributed vaccines until June 30 2022.”
COVAX is a facility led by WHO for better COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
The statement said all vaccines procured or distributed through COVAX receive regulatory approval or an emergency use authorisation to confirm their safety and efficacy.
“But, as with all medicines, even Covid19 vaccines that are approved for general use may, in rare cases, cause serious adverse reactions.
“By providing a no-fault lump-sum compensation in full and final settlement of any claims, the COVAX vaccine program aims to significantly reduce the need for recourse to the law courts, a potentially lengthy and costly process,” said the statement.
Seth Berkley, chief executive of the GAVI vaccine alliance which co-leads COVAX, said the agreement on the compensation fund was “a massive boost” for COVAX vaccine, which aims to secure equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines.
“It helps those in countries who might have such effects, manufacturers to roll out vaccines to countries faster, and is a key benefit for lower-income governments procuring vaccines through (COVAX vaccine),” Berkley said.