DOH to consider more compensation for flu inoculation victims

Director says NT$2 million is the current compensation level for vaccination death

The Department of Health will consider amending the law to give higher compensation to victims of problems with the A (H1N1) swine flu vaccine, Minister Yaung Chih-liang said yesterday.
The statement followed widespread criticism of the government's inoculation campaign following the death of a 7-year-old boy after being vaccinated. His parents claim the boy had no history of medical problems and his death was obviously a consequence of being inoculated at school 33 days earlier.
There have also been several cases reported of pregnant women suffering miscarriages or stillbirths as a result of the vaccine, though the DOH has consistently denied there was any link.
The government inoculation campaign reportedly slowed down after the boy's parents appeared on television threatening legal action against the government.
Steve Kuo, the director of the DOH's Centers for Disease Control, said yesterday that NT$2 million was the current compensation level for death as a result of vaccination.
Yaung agreed that a review might be necessary since the regulation had remained unchanged for 20 years. He added that legislative amendments might be necessary before the change can go ahead.
Opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Chen Chiech-ju said South Korea had a compensation level ten times higher than Taiwan's, or the equivalent of NT$20 million.
Chen's Kuomintang colleague Lo Shu-lei suggested a minimum compensation of NT$10 million per case, reports said.
Another DPP lawmaker, Chen Ying, announced the formation of a private self-help association for victims of the vaccine. She said that if members of the public did not want to call the 1922 hotline set up by the CDC to discuss vaccination problems, they could turn to the association instead and dial 04-2472-4421 to report side-effects of the shots.
Kuo admitted that the publicity surrounding the Taichung boy's death had affected public confidence in the anti-flu campaign. The number of people being immunized had slipped from the average daily number of 150,000 before the incident, he said.
The government emphasized that with more waves of cold weather expected, the fight against the swine flu was still as important as ever.
A new incident was the reported immunization of military personnel with expired seasonal flu shots. Kuo downplayed the seriousness of the case, saying expired vaccine would not pose a health risk.

Updated : 2021-04-17 12:59 GMT+08:00