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WHO agrees to no-fault compensation for rare serious side effects from COVAX-distributed vaccines

The no-fault compensation fund will be accessible via a web portal by 31 March 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has signed an agreement on behalf of the international vaccines-sharing facility COVAX for a no-fault compensation programme for rare serious side effects associated with vaccines distributed via the scheme.

According to the WHO, the programme is the first vaccine injury compensation mechanism operating on an international scale. It covers all 92 low- and middle-income countries and economies that are eligible for support from the COVAX Facility until 30 June 2022.

The compensation programme will offer all eligible individuals a ‘fast, fair, robust and transparent’ process for gaining compensation in the rare event that they experience a serious side effect associated with a COVAX-distributed vaccine.

The COVAX programme will provide a no-fault lump sum compensation in full and final settlement of any claims, the WHO said in a statement.

This strategy aims to reduce the need for making use of law courts, which could potentially be a lengthy and costly process.

The no-fault compensation fund will be accessible via a web portal by 31 March 2021, although eligible individuals can apply for compensation under the programme even if they received a COVAX-distributed vaccine prior to this date.

The programme will initially be financed through Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) funding.

“This no-fault compensation mechanism helps to ensure that people in AMC-eligible countries and economies can benefit from the cutting-edge science that has delivered COVID-19 vaccines in record time,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO.

The COVAX Facility – which is the vaccine pillar of the World Health Organization's (WHO) ACT Accelerator  –  is aiming to deliver at least two billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021 to all participating countries.

It is co-led by the WHO, Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), organisations that are working in partnership with vaccine manufacturers from developed and developing countries.

Last week, the European Commission announced that the EU will double its contribution to COVAX, with an additional pledge of €500m.

The additional €500m contribution is made up of a new €300m EU grant and €200m in guarantees by the European Fund for Sustainable Development plus (EFSD+).

The new funds double the EU’s previous €500m commitment to COVAX, consisting of a €100m grant and a €400m in guarantees from the EU budget.

Last week, the leaders of the G7 also pledged to increase their financial commitments to the ACT Accelerator and COVAX Facility with an extra $7.5bn.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

23rd February 2021

From: Regulatory

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