South Africa to launch compensation fund for complaints linked to COVID-19 vaccines

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA -MARCH 31: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize briefs the nation on COVID-19 on Day Five of National Lockdown on March 31, 2020 in Durban, South Africa. According to media reports, President Ramaphosa announced a major campaign to improve the testing for coronavirus testing cases, confirming 10,000 field workers would be deployed to go door-to-door. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

South Africa’s Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize has announced that work to establish a No-Fault Compensation (NFC) Fund to protect the rights of citizens who will be vaccinated against COVID-19 has started. Once established, the fund will deal with medical complaints linked to COVID-19 vaccines.

Mkhize says establishing it is an international trend and is also aimed at protecting South African citizens.

SABC reports that Mkhize said, “You report to the office, assign compensation, no need for money, no lawyer, just walk through the office and it’s done.

If you don’t like the decision, you can take the whole fund to court for review, but all the experts would’ve been there to assess you and I think the important thing is the protection of our people. It’s a human rights issue.”

“A contingent liability of approximately R250 million for the first year would be provided for compensation of vaccine injury in a COVID-19 Vaccine NFC Fund,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in written replies to a lawmaker, Reuters reports.

Mkhize said the potential cost was based on an estimate of between 800 and 2,000 successful claims and included the administrative costs of the fund. He said a committee of experts would develop a vaccine injury table to assess compensation applications.

South Africa has thus far recorded 1,570,744 coronavirus cases, 1,490,733 recoveries and 53,778 deaths.

(With input from Agencies)