The World Health Organization (WHO) on February 22 agreed on a “no-fault compensation” plan for claims of serious side effects in people in 92 poorer countries due to coronavirus vaccine via the COVAX sharing scheme. According to a press note, the UN agency said that the programme, which was the first and only vaccine injury compensation mechanism operating on an international scale, will offer eligible people a “fast, fair, robust and transparent process”. The statement further added that people will receive compensation for rare but serious adverse events associated with COVAX-distributed vaccines until June 30, 2022.
“By providing a no-fault lump-sum compensation in full and final settlement of any claims, the COVAX programme aims to significantly reduce the need for recourse to the law courts, a potentially lengthy and costly process,” the statement read.
The WHO-agreed plan will be financed initially from donor funding to the Advance Market
Commitment (AMC) as an extra charge on all doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed through COVAX. The WHO informed that the applications can be made via a portal - ww.covaxclaims.com - from March 31, 2021. Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, called the programme a “massive boost” for COVAX’s goal of equitable global access to vaccines and added that it is a “key benefit” for lower-income governments procuring vaccines through the Gavi COVAX AMC.
In a separate statement, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “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”.
Tedros added, “We are pleased to be collaborating with Chubb, which has the capabilities to support the COVAX facility through its global network and claims handling ability. WHO’s agreement with Chubb offers further protection and confidence in the life-saving power of vaccines”.
It is worth noting that the WHO is working with Chubb Limited to secure insurance coverage for the programme with Chubb as the lead insurer. According to the press release, the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines during 2021 will be the fastest global deployment of novel vaccines in history. The COVAX Facility aims, by the end of 2021, to deliver at least 2 billion doses of safe, effective and quality-assured vaccines to all participating countries, including at least 1.3 billion doses to the 92 AMC-eligible countries and economies, at the same time as wealthier nations.