Slovakia lacks the compensation mechanism for side effects of Covid vaccines

The Health Ministry has one proposal ready but wants to discuss it.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

Currently, it is nearly impossible in Slovakia to claim compensation for damaging one’s health after receiving the Covid vaccine.

Moreover, it's unlikely anyone has tried to ask for compensation for the side effects of Covid or other vaccines or medicines as the only way they can do it is through a lengthy and expensive civil lawsuit with an uncertain result.

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“If somebody visits a lawyer and wants to start a trial for damage to health and the lawyer told them about what they should prove and what the costs are, people would say it’s not worth it,” said constitutional lawyer Martin Buzinger. “They need to prove a connection between damage to health and the vaccination, which is impossible for an ordinary person.”

Blood clots, temporary paralysis, high blood pressure and others are serious side effects of Covid vaccination that have been reported by 1,114 people in Slovakia; seven have died after vaccination.

Even though only 0.04 percent of more than 2.5 million vaccinated people in Slovakia experienced serious side effects, it can seriously damage an individual's health.

While half of the population distrusts the effectiveness and safety of the Covid vaccines, the government still has not established a fund from which it can pay compensation to people suffering from side effects.

Why prefer vaccines to drugs? The Covid jab protects better and it is cheaper Read more 

Currently, at least 25 countries, including the Czech Republic, have their own state fund for people suffering from side effects of Covid vaccines which compensates them without the need to start a court trial, while for 95 of the poorest countries from Africa and Asia, a special compensation programme was launched by the World Health Organisation.

Fear of side effects belongs to the most frequent reasons why people are hesitant to get vaccinated against Covid. This was confirmed by the late July poll by AKO, in which one in three respondents picked this option.

The discussion about establishing a fund that would provide compensation to people suffering from side effects after vaccination – be it against Covid or other diseases – has been going on in Slovakia for years. In 2014, then health minister Ivan Uhliarik (KDH) pondered the idea, and such a fund was mentioned by ex-health minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) last year too.

The fact is that there is one nearly finished proposal, drafted under the Peter Pellegrini government.

Even though the Health Ministry plans to change the conditions for responsibility for damaging one’s health by Covid vaccines from the beginning of 2022, with the proposal being currently discussed by the parliament, it will likely not help the injured party. It only strips doctors and medical facilities of the responsibility and transfers it to the state.

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