KFL&A Public Health seeks no-fault compensation for adverse effects of vaccines

The success of most vaccination campaigns depends upon wide-spread immunization of populations. While vaccines are safe and effective, sometimes unwanted or unexpected health effects can occur.

Vaccination is among public health’s greatest achievements in terms of reducing the illness and death associated with disease, according to a release from KFL&A Public Health, dated Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. There were approximately 8.6 million doses of vaccine distributed in Ontario in 2018, resulting in 21 serious adverse events being reported. This represents about 1.5 serious adverse events in every 1 million doses distributed, Public Health said in the release.

Serious adverse events after vaccination are very rare. Despite this, the Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Board of Health is advocating for no-fault compensation for adverse effects following immunization.

No-fault compensation programs are one means by which compensation could be accomplished. According to KFL&A Public Health, the success of the upcoming COVID-19 vaccination campaign requires wide-spread immunization by the public and there is an ethical imperative for a no-fault approach that would bring the mechanism for compensation outside the existing legal system. In jurisdictions where these approaches have been employed, resolution is generally quick, effective, and more consistently applied than via traditional legal channels, according to the release.

“The number of individuals who experience adverse events as a result of vaccination is extremely low; unfortunately, these individuals bear the burden of adverse events in the service of a public good,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health, KFL&A Public Health. “Given the anticipated scale of COVID-19 mass vaccinations we want to have in place a no-fault approach that brings compensation outside the existing legal system.”

During the KFL&A Board of Health meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, the Board made a commitment to write a letter advocating to the Prime Minister of Canada to support a program of no-fault compensation for adverse outcomes following routine immunizations in Canada.

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