In Brief: COVAX to pay for COVID-19 vaccine-related injury

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A regional vaccination center in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Photo by: Sgt. Alexis Velez / The National Guard / CC BY

Individuals who experience serious side effects from COVID-19 vaccines can file for compensation under a new agreement signed by the World Health Organization and Chubb Ltd.’s ESIS Inc., which provides risk management services.

Under the agreement, individuals in low- and middle- income countries that are part of COVAX’s advance market commitment, or AMC, can receive compensation for “rare but serious adverse events.” The compensation mechanism will start on March 31, 2021, and run until June 30, 2022.

Seth Berkley, CEO at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said the compensation agreement is “a key benefit for lower-income governments procuring vaccines through the Gavi COVAX AMC.”

The mechanism will be initially financed with COVAX AMC donor funding.

Why it matters: A key question related to COVID-19 vaccines is who will be held liable in case of an adverse event. Pharmaceutical companies providing vaccines via COVAX require indemnification agreements so they will not be held liable for such unexpected adverse events. While COVID-19 vaccines are being recommended for emergency use, they continue to be studied and monitored for safety and efficacy.

What’s the caveat? There remain key questions regarding the process for application and what adverse events will be considered for compensation.

About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.