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Compensation plan for vaccine victims

08-03-2011 15:18 BJT

BEIJING -Families of patients who die or are left disabled due to vaccines may soon receive massive payouts from the government, as Beijing looks to close a major loophole in its health system.

Currently, compensation claims can only be made against clinics and manufacturers if tests prove the medicine that was administered did not comply with the national standard.

However, a Beijing Health Bureau draft regulation now open to public consultation aims for the first time to ensure help for those seriously affected by any of the 16 vaccines in the city's immunization program.

The proposal states that families of the deceased will receive for 20 years an amount equal to the previous year's per capita disposable income of Beijing urban residents. For example, this year that would work out at more than 580,000 yuan ($90,000) over 20 years. Authorities will also cover the cost of funerals and autopsies.

People who suffer a disability or organ tissue damage will be entitled to help with medical expenses and nursing fees, temporary disability benefits, living allowances and disability assistance allowances.

Despite calls to several government health departments on Tuesday, China Daily was unable to obtain an official figure for how many people have been killed or harmed by vaccines in recent years.

The safety of vaccines has been a subject of debate recently, as cases of death or disability following vaccine injections continue to attract public attention.

Compensating victims of vaccine injections is an attempt to make up for those who suffer due to individual physical differences, said Zhang Jianshu, director of information services at the health bureau.

"Vaccination remains the best way to prevent infectious diseases, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), despite the fact some may have side-effects," Zhang said.

"One type of vaccine may kill one person yet save 90,000 others, and we can't simply deny its benefits because of one failure."

Many people support the compensation policy.

"It's better to be paid than not," said Qiu Shanshan, a graduate student at Beijing Normal University. "Those who suffer serious discomfort can at least have economic support in the future."

Cao Hui, a 24-year-old administrative employee, disagreed: "We should improve the prevention of death or disability rather than compensate afterward. Residents need to be better informed about the vaccine and their own physical status before the injection."


Editor:Yang Jie |Source: China Daily

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