Agency of Medicines struggling to process vaccination compensation claims

COVID-19 vaccinations at East Tallinn Central Hospital.
COVID-19 vaccinations at East Tallinn Central Hospital. Source: Raigo Pajula/ITK

Estonia's Agency of Medicines is struggling to process coronavirus vaccination compensation claims and is concerned it will not do so by the August deadline. While over 300 applications have been submitted, only 30 have been completely reviewed so far.

Last month, the compensation fund opened for applications. People who suffered side effects for at least four months after they received their COVID-19 vaccination, which were recorded by a doctor, can now apply for compensation.

The agency said the process of verifying claims takes a long time and only four have qualified for compensation so far.

"There are very few situations where it can be said with great certainty that a health condition is related to the vaccine. These cases include, for example, anaphylactic shock and complications [immediately] following vaccination," Maia Uusküla, the head of the agency's pharmacovigilance department, told ERR.

One of the reasons the checks have taken so long is because the agency needs to verify patients' data on the health care information system. This permission was not granted until May 23, almost a month after the application system opened.

As the deadline for reviewing applications is the end of August, Uusküla is not sure this will be met. At the moment around three claims are reviewed each day.

Processing takes a long time because the applicant's medical history must be studied. "This is a detective's job, sometimes we have been looking at data from as far back as 2014," she said. 

If the condition is not known to be liked to the vaccine, agency workers must then search through medical literature or case reports, check the number of notifications in the European Adverse Reaction Database and consult a specialist.

If agreed with the state, compensation will be a one-time payment starting at €2,000.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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