Vaccine insurance debate could begin this year

COVID-19. Source: Pixabay

The government on Thursday supported proposals by Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) for the creation of a comprehensive vaccine insurance system to cover all vaccines used in Estonia that is set to be sent to the parliament attached to the patient insurance system bill before the year is out.

The first stage would see the insurance cover SARS-CoV-2 vaccines since the start of coronavirus vaccination in Estonia, while the system would apply to all other vaccines starting in 2023.

The vaccine insurance is aimed at compensating people for situations where vaccination has caused serious damage to health for a period of at least four months. Fixed sums will be used to compensate people for both material and non-material damage depending on severity.

"The quality and safety of medicines used in Estonia is very high. Our aim is to give people certainty when deciding in favor of vaccination and support them in extremely rare cases where serious side-effects manifest," Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said.

"When we know we will not be left to our own devices, people will hopefully dare decide in favor of vaccination – it is important because vaccination saves lives."

As with other vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines are very safe – serious side-effects are extremely rare. For example, over 1.65 million doses of vaccine had been administered in Estonia by the morning of November 30, while all reports of side-effects and ineffectiveness to the Health Board totaled 6,017 or concerned just 0.36 percent of doses.

Notices that described at least one serious side-effect and where a temporal link to vaccination could be established numbered fewer still at 238.

The current producer liability system in Estonia allows people who might have suffered health damage as a result of vaccination send a claim directly to the manufacturer. When it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, manufacturers are obligated to notify the Ministry of Social Affairs and involve Estonia in resolving the matter.

The aim of the vaccine insurance system is to make it easier for people to secure compensation in case of extremely rate vaccine side-effects.

The social, finance and justice ministries are working on a bill to add a new chapter to the Medicinal Products Act. The creation of a comprehensive patient insurance system continues.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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