Director of Family Services in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Melody Ennis, has said that compensation is available for persons who experience a serious injury after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Speaking at a virtual town hall on Thursday (August 26) Ennis explained how vaccine compensation works, however she noted that Jamaica has not had many of these cases.
According to Ennis, while compensation is possible causation would have to be determined by a team, which includes local and international experts.
“Persons need not be in fear, if you take the vaccine and you do have an untoward effect we do have a team of experts both locally and internationally if necessary to determine causality,” she said.
“And if we determine causality compensation is not really going to make you better but it will also help in the sense that we will know the occurrence and we will be able to use our surveillance system to possibly withdraw [or] to suggest that we make a change,” she added.
Ennis stressed that the country has a robust system to deal with vaccine injury, but noted that there had been very few cases over the years.
“The point is that we have this robust system and persons can get compensation. Over time and over the years though, we have found that we have not had any of those cases where we identify that there is a cause and effect. In few cases yes, but in the vast majority not at all,” Ennis said.
Ennis further explained that it would be the government who would be responsible for compensation based on agreements with the vaccine manufacturers.
” So the business of indemnification is not new with vaccine manufacturers, that has actually been in place since the 80s. And most companies in the US are indemnified and it is the government that basically stands – or they defer that risk to the government, ” she explained.
“The thought behind that, is that manufacturing companies will focus on their core business which is that of the science of making medicines. Now they do not want to be bogged down with the legalities and they therefore defer that risk to governments,” she added.