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No-fault compensation schemes for COVID-19 vaccine injury: a mixed bag for claimants and citizens
  1. Sonia Macleod1,
  2. Francesca Uberti1,
  3. Enga Kameni2,3
  1. 1Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2Afreximbank, Heliopolis, Egypt
  3. 3Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sonia Macleod, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, Manor Road Building, Manor Road, Oxford OX1 3UQ, UK; sonia.macleod{at}csls.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

The development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) presented a unique set of challenges. There was a global need for safe, effective vaccines against a new virus. In response to the development of vaccines for COVID-19 (some of which used novel technologies), there was a proliferation of no-fault compensation schemes (NFCS) for COVID-19 vaccine injuries. We identified 28 national vaccine injury NFCS operating in December 2019. Just 2 years later, over 130 countries had some NFCS coverage for COVID-19 vaccines. This rapid expansion was primarily driven by the creation of three multinational schemes. The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) scheme covers vaccines given under the COVAX framework in 92 low and middle-income countries across the globe. The African Vaccines Acquisition Trust (AVAT) scheme covers vaccines administered under the AVAT framework in 36 African and Caribbean countries. The UNICEF scheme covers vaccines administered by UNICEF in 18 Asian countries.

Because of the sudden expansion of no-fault compensation for vaccine injury, especially in developing economies, more research on the foundations, procedures and outcomes of NFCS is needed. In this article, we examine how these NFCS meet the needs of individual claimants and society more widely. To do so, we first review the rationales offered to support the creation of vaccine injury NFCS. We then argue that, in order to achieve their function as compensation mechanisms, NFCS should be accessible and offer substantive and procedural justice to claimants. Finally, we focus on transparency and accountability as necessary requirements to allow scrutiny over existing NFCS and their wider impacts.

  • COVID-19
  • Public Policy
  • Policy
  • Internationality

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Data are available upon reasonable request.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors SM and FU made substantial contributions to the conception and design of the work; the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data for the work; and drafting the work including revising it critically for important intellectual content. EK made a substantial contribution to the design of the work; the acquisition of data for the work; and revising it critically for important intellectual content. SM is the guarantor and accepts full responsibility for the finished work and the conduct of the study, had access to the data, and controlled the decision to publish.

  • Funding This study was funded by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations.

  • Competing interests SM and FU have received research support from the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.