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WHO to compensate for serious jab side effects

By XINHUA | 1 month ago

 Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva, Switzerland, on February 28, 2020. [Reuters]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and its partners have agreed to launch a programme for claims of serious side effects among people in 92 poorer countries due to Covid-19 vaccination, the WHO said Monday in a statement.

“This is the first and only global vaccine injury compensation mechanism operating on an international scale,” the WHO statement said.

According to WHO, the programme, No-Fault Compensation, will offer eligible individuals “a fast, fair, robust and transparent process to receive compensation for rare but serious adverse events associated with Covax-distributed vaccines until June 30, 2022.”

Covax is a facility led by WHO for better Covid-19 vaccine distribution. The statement said all vaccines procured or distributed through Covax receive regulatory approval or an emergency use authorisation to confirm their safety and efficacy.

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“But, as with all medicines, even vaccines that are approved for general use may, in rare cases, cause serious adverse reactions,” the WHO statement said. 

“By providing a no-fault lump-sum compensation in full and final settlement of any claims, the Covax programme aims to significantly reduce the need for recourse to the law courts, a potentially lengthy and costly process.”

The programme will be operated by ESIS, a subsidiary of the Zurich-based multinational insurance company Chubb Limited, the WHO said, adding that the compensation mechanism is to be funded by Gavi through a “levy charged on all doses of Covid-19 vaccines distributed through the Covax Facility”.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised the agreement, saying that this agreement offers further protection and confidence in the life-saving power of vaccines.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorised coronavirus vaccines.

Side effects

According to a recent health report by CNBC, side effects such as pain and swelling at the shot spot, fatigue, headache, fever and chills are common for Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine receivers.

People who experience such side effects may take over-the-counter pain pills after the shot to alleviate these symptoms, said the CNBC report, with reference to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s recommendations.

It is normal for human bodies to experience such side effects as the immune system is set to form its preparation and protection against the virus through a process called ‘controlled inflammation’, which is the way that the mRNA messenger vaccines work in.

To mitigate these side effects, which can be very serious in some cases, the CDC said that people can take ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines or acetaminophen after getting the vaccine. The agency also recommended that those experiencing side effects to see a doctor for advice before taking the pain medicine.

The report noted that the CDC does not support the practice of taking pain pills before getting vaccinated because it will weaken the immune system’s response to the mRNA messenger vaccine.

The CDC also listed other ways for alleviating the vaccines’ side effects, including putting a wet, cold cloth on the inoculation spot to relieve pain, taking more fluids if getting a fever, and wearing light clothes to help feel more comfortable.

The report also mentioned that more people begin experiencing side effects after taking the second shot because the first one only triggers the immune response while the second one boosts it.

At least 251 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide–70 of them in clinical trials–in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the US, according to information released by WHO last week.

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