By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has asked for public comments on the planned Covid-19 no-fault compensation scheme.
The purpose of the scheme is to provide quick and easy access to compensation for persons who suffer vaccine injury as a consequence of a Covid-19 vaccine being administered.
The scheme is an essential part of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout, Dlamini Zuma said.
She said that Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and Finance minister Tito Mboweni will be responsible for setting up an account for the fund and the institution that is responsible for the financial management of the fund.
The fund will consist of funds appropriated by an Act of Parliament to the vote of Health or from contingencies, in terms of appropriation legislation or the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), as well as funds accruing from any other source.
Regarding the financial management and oversight of the scheme, the draft regulations state that the finance minister may issue directions, after consultation with the Health Minister, in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act.
Dlamini Zuma said the Department of Health will be responsible for the administration of the scheme.
The fund will cover a person who has suffered a vaccine injury caused by the administration of a Covid-19 vaccine that is:
- Registered or otherwise approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority;
- Procured and distributed by the national government;
- Administered at a facility within the republic.
Vaccine injuries that will be covered under the scheme include severe injuries resulting in permanent or significant injury, serious harm to a person’s health, other damage or death.
A panel will also decide on injuries that are seen to be causally related to the use of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Mkhize will be responsible for issuing a separate directive that spells out:
- The persons eligible to make claims under the Scheme;
- The vaccine injuries covered;
- The specific vaccines to be covered;
- Facilities where Covid-19 vaccinations are officially administered;
- The timeline and duration of injury and the period of vaccinations that the Scheme will cover;
- The types of claims that may be made;
- Requirements and procedures for instituting claims; and
- The period in respect of which claims may be instituted with the Scheme.
The proposed regulations also include a number of regulations that aim to limit the direct liability of the vaccine manufacturers.
This includes a block on legal action against the manufacturers, with all legal claims instead being directed to the government and this new fund.