Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said on Friday that the government has reached an agreement on creating a vaccine damages fund and the goal is to present the respective draft law to the Riigikogu before the end of the year.
"Our aim is to give these proposals and draft law plans to the parliament (the Riigikogu - ed) this year. How fast the parliament can process those will depend on the parliament's workload," Kiik said on Vikerraadio's news show "Uudis+" on Friday.
The health minister said the government cabinet will process creating the vaccine damages fund alongside creating a patient insurance fund.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said last Friday that creating a vaccine damages fund would send out the wrong signals to society. Kallas said setting up such a fund could amplify fears.
Kiik said on Friday that the government has reached an agreement on creating a vaccine damages fund. The health minister noted that people who have developed a side effect or work incapacity as a result of coronavirus vaccinations can apply for benefits.
"Thousands of people will not have the right, we are mainly talking about a few dozen, maybe a hundred cases a year and the Agency of Medicines will assess the cases," Kiik said.
Show host Arp Müller asked the health minister where the state would find the resources to cover vaccine damages.
Kiik responded and said the government is discussing it with healthcare sector representatives and lawyers of the economic affairs and justice ministries, but the fund's resources will likely come from the taxpayer. "The question is if taxpayers pay for it through the state budget or through the price of medication," the health minister said.
Kiik added that he personally thinks that claims could also be made retroactively. "If it is legally feasible and in accordance with equal treatment principles, I would support a model, which allows people to make claims for COVID-19 vaccines retroactively," the health minister said.
The opposition Isamaa Party on Wednesday initiated a draft law, which would task the government with creating a fund for compensating any damages caused by vaccinations. Center Party has supported the creation of a vaccine damages fund, but Reform Party has been skeptical of the idea so far. The Reform-Center coalition is trying to find a compromise through patient insurance.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste