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Covid-19 Vaccine Injury No-Fault Compensation Scheme in Place

April 26, 2021

Department of Cooperative Governance

Chapter 8 on Covid-19 Vaccine Injury No-Fault Compensation Scheme has been added to Disaster Management Act Regulations.

The cooperative governance department called for comment on the Regulations last week.

The amendments, published in Government Gazette 44485, set up the Covid-19 Vaccine Injury No-Fault Compensation Scheme.

The amended Regulations describe the Scheme as an essential part of the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out, “which is a critical component of the national plan and response to alleviate, contain and minimise the effects of the disaster, and ultimately to end the State of National Disaster”.

The Scheme is designed to provide “expeditious and easy access to compensation for persons who suffer harm, loss or damage as a result of vaccine injury referred to in regulation 93(3) and (4)(a) caused by the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine specified in terms of regulation 93(4)(b), at a facility within the Republic specified in terms of regulation 93(4)(c)”. “

The health department will be responsible for the administration of the Scheme and its funds.

An adjudication panel and an appeal panel to deal with the adjudication of, and appeals in respect of claims are to be established.

The appeal panel will be headed by a retired judge appointed by the health minister after consultation with the justice and correctional services minister.

A causality panel and a quantum panel are also to be set up.

Anyone who suffers harm, loss or damage caused by a vaccine injury as a result of vaccination will be eligible for compensation under the Scheme.

Vaccine injuries to be covered under the Scheme include severe injuries resulting in permanent or significant injury, serious harm to a person’s health, other serious damage or death.

The health minister will issue Directions specifying the quantum and structure of compensation that will be provided under the Scheme to eligible persons and dependants.

The amended Regulations stipulate that “any person who elects to submit a claim to the Scheme thereby waives and abandons his or her right to institute legal proceedings in a Court against any party for a claim arising from harm, loss or damage allegedly caused by a vaccine injury referred to in regulations 93(3) and (4)(a), caused by the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine specified in terms of regulation 93(4)(b), at a facility within the Republic specified in terms of regulation 93(4)(c)”.

Claimants dissatisfied with the rejection of a claim by the adjudication panel or the amount and structure of compensation determined by the adjudication panel can appeal such decision to the appeal panel.

The Scheme will continue to operate if the national state of disaster ends.

The amended Regulations came into effect on the date of publication.

Meanwhile, cabinet has welcomed the recommendation by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to lift the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson Sisonke Vaccination Programme.

The programme was suspended recently following suspension of the J&J vaccination roll-out programme in the United States after six people who received the J&J vaccine developed a rare type of blood clot.

According to the cabinet statement, reviewed data had confirmed that South Africa had not experienced any rare blood clots with the already vaccinated healthcare workers.