TALLINN - Starting from May 1, vaccine injury insurance was launched in Estonia, providing people who have sustained severe health damage as a result of vaccination with an opportunity to seek compensation.
In 2022, compensation will be paid retroactively for cases of COVID-19 vaccine damage revealed from December 2020 onwards. Starting from 2023, the system will expand to also include other vaccines, such as those in the national immunization plan, as well as vaccines against influenza and tick borne encephalitis and the so-called travel vaccines.
The link between the health damage and vaccine is assessed by the State Agency of Medicines.
The vaccine injury compensation is a one-off, income tax-free payout awarded to a person who has suffered a serious health damage as a result of vaccination against COVID-19. The injury must have lasted for at least four months or resulted in the death of the person. The medical condition must be documented by a doctor. A link between the vaccination and the adverse health effect must have been established by the Medicines Agency as at least plausible.
Riho Peek, head of the finance department at the Health Insurance Fund, said that applications together with the necessary documents can be submitted via email, on paper or through the www.digilugu.ee patient portal.
"After an application has been submitted, the Health Insurance Fund will assess its compliance with the conditions and will then relay it to the State Agency of Medicines which will assess if there is a link between the health damage and vaccination. The handling of the application may take up to 150 days," he said.
Severe health damages have been divided into five categories, each of which has a fixed sum of compensation ranging from 2,000 to 100,000 euros, depending on the severity of the damage.
The State Agency of Medicines is collecting information about reactions to medicines and vaccines in order to detect new side-effects. Maia Uuskula, head of the bureau of pharmacovigilance at the Estonian State Agency of Medicines, said last week that the agency had received slightly over 7,000 notices about post-vaccination reactions, including almost 900 cases, or 0.35 percent of all administered vaccines, where the vaccine has proved inefficient.
In 2022, the vaccine injury insurance fund is financed from the state budget, under which one million euros has been set aside for potential payouts until the end of the year.