More than C$10,000 in coverage . . .
The South Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KCDC) announced on Monday that it will expand compensation coverage for those suffering from severe side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The compensation will provide up to 10 million KRW (approximately C$10,881) for medical expenses. The Korean government has already implemented a policy of providing compensation for those falling severely ill, incapacitated, or killed due to COVID-19 vaccines. However, before the policy change, only those who could clearly demonstrate that the vaccines caused their illnesses were eligible for government compensation. Now, the government has acknowledged that there is not enough data on vaccines and their side effects and has relaxed its causality requirement.
Addressing vaccine hesitancy . . .
In South Korea, there is heightened public concern over stories of severe illness, incapacitation, and death following vaccination, especially for the AstraZeneca vaccine. For instance, reports of people getting paralyzed or dying after vaccination have become household stories. A recent poll showed that the percentage of South Koreans willing to get vaccinated has declined from 83 per cent in November to 71 per cent in May. The compensation scheme and its scope expansion are Seoul’s efforts to address growing vaccine hesitancy. So far, a total of 156 adverse events, including 79 deaths and 77 serious cases, have been reviewed by the government. However, only two so far have been deemed eligible for compensation.
Canada’s efforts to reach herd immunity . . .
In a poll this month by Leger, a Canadian market research and analytics company, more than eight in ten Canadians responded that either they have been vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated, an increase from six in ten from Leger’s poll in October. However, concerns about the adverse effects of vaccines remain and could hamper Canada’s efforts to reach herd immunity, which requires at least 60-70 per cent of the population to get vaccinated. Nova Scotia, for instance, has stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine due to safety concerns. Canada must consider ways of maintaining and strengthening public buy-in of vaccines. Ottawa announced last December that the Public Health Agency of Canada would create a vaccine injury support program to provide financial support to people in the rare event that they experience a serious permanent injury after receiving a vaccine authorized by Health Canada.
- Dong-A ILBO: Adverse vaccine reactions to be compensated with up to 10 M won
- KCDC (in Korean): Promotion of support for medical expenses
- The Korea Times: People shun vaccination over safety, compensation concerns