If a corona warrior passes away due to Covid-19 infection, his relatives might get compensation as high as Rs 1 crore, but there is no compensation available to a common man in case of death linked to vaccination.
Clinical trial procedures do have compensation provisions which are paid by the companies, though the process is fraught with difficulties and may stretch years.
A senior Union Health Ministry official said there is no provision of doling out compensation for recipients of Covid-19 vaccine against any kind of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) or medical complications that may arise due to inoculation. In this connection, he cited children immunisation programme where no compensation has been given so far.
The AEFI is defined as “any untoward medical occurrence which follows immunisation” and which does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the usage of the vaccine.
As per the Government report, since the launch of the nationwide vaccination from January 16 till June 7, one person has died due to severe allergic reaction of vaccination while 488 succumbed post inoculation which the Government said were due to co-incidental reasons, including co-morbidities, and cannot be directly attributed to the vaccination. So far, 26 crore people have been vaccinated in the country with Covaxin or Covishield.
In fact, in a written reply in Parliament, Union Health Minister of State Ashwani Kumar Choubey on March 19 said, “There is no provision of compensation for recipients of Covid-19 vaccine against any kind of side effects or medical complications that may arise due to inoculation. The Covid-19 vaccination is entirely voluntary for the beneficiary.”
However, measures have been put in place like availability of anaphylaxis kits at each vaccination site, immediate referral to AEFI management centre and observation of vaccine recipients for 30 minutes at session site for any adverse events so as to take timely corrective measure. Also, the AEFI management of such cases are provided free of cost treatment in Public Health Facilities, he had said.
“Though under clinical trials conducted in India, there are specific rules defining compensation for participants, this is not so in case for the vaccination. There is no method under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act to provide any type of compensation against any adverse event after receiving a vaccine approved for restricted emergency use.
Such people can explore legal options. In such cases, the liability will be of the vaccine-maker,” an official said.
The Government on Tuesday said deaths reported post-vaccination standing at 488 were a small percentage of the number of doses given, but this did not mean they were due to vaccination.
“We ascertain if it is a minor adverse event or it is a serious or severe adverse event. Then it is monitored and causes are ascertained. The vaccines approved by us, their safety parameters are very good. When 23.5 crore doses were given, the AEFI deaths were 0.0002 per cent which comes to 488 deaths which does not mean these deaths were because of vaccination,” Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the Health Ministry had said.