Minister: Two bills setting up Covid vaccine funds to reach Riigikogu soon

Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo (Reform).
Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo (Reform). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Two bills circulating at ministry level and soon to be submitted to the Rigiikogu will deal with compensation due to serious side-effects from coronavirus vaccines, Minister for Social Protection Signe Riisalo (Reform) says. The development represents a climb-down from Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) recently-expressed position, that such funds would send out the wrong signal to society.

Speaking to ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Wednesday, Riisalo referenced a case where an individual reportedly developed several disorders, principally affecting the nervous system, after a first coronavirus vaccination dose.

The symptoms had been continuing for three months, "Ringvaade" reported.

If the issue was caused by medial negligence in administering the vaccination, one of the two bills in circulation would provide for compensation, Riisalo said, via patient insurance.

The other bill concerned side-effects from the vaccine itself, which the minister said a vaccine damages fund would provide one solution for.

"I very much hope that both of these [bills] will move to the parliament as soon as possible," Riisalo said, adding that health minister Tanel Kiik (Center) is submitting a memorandum to that effect to the cabinet at its regular Thursday meeting.

The fund would hopefully also apply retroactively to those cases which arose prior to its inception, Riisalo added.

As things stand, any individual who feels they have experienced serious side-effects or other health issues directly as a result of getting a Covid vaccination must file a claim against the drug manufacturer, she added.

Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen vaccines are currently administered in Estonia.

While the Center Party has been consistently in support of creating a vaccine damages fund, Reform has been more skeptical, though the prime minister recently denied a rift in the coalition on the issue.

The opposition Isamaa party also recently drafted a bill to set up a fund.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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