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Taiwan grants relief in vaccine injury case involving death of child

Vaccine Injury Compensation Program announces rulings in 9 cases involving COVID-19 jabs

Healthcare professional administers covid-19 vaccine. 

Healthcare professional administers covid-19 vaccine.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The board overseeing the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s (MOHW) Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) made public the rulings on nine cases involving COVID-19 jabs on Sunday (Feb. 26).

Among the rulings, NT$3.5 million (US$114,000) along with an additional NT$300,000 (US$9,800) funeral subsidy was awarded to a family in Taoyuan. The case involved a girl between the age of five and 11, who died of sudden myocarditis three days after taking her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, reported UDN.

In the MOHW announcement of the rulings, which were made on Feb. 9, the director of VICP, Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞), said that the BNT vaccine cannot be conclusively determined as the primary reason for the girl’s death. However, relief was granted based on the timeline of events, and in consideration of the fact that the BNT vaccine could not be ruled out as a contributing factor.

Lo said that based on international data, the likelihood of children aged five to 11 suffering sudden myocarditis after taking a second shot of an mRNA vaccine is approximately 4.5 to 4.8 cases out of every one million. Local data from Taiwan reflects similar statistics, according to the MOHW.

As of Feb. 15, Taiwan has reported 22 cases of myocarditis in children aged five to 11 who have taken COVID-19 vaccines. There have been 165 total cases reported in adolescents aged 12 to 17 who have taken vaccines. In 90% of cases, hospitalized patients were discharged within a week of being admitted.

In addition to the Taoyuan case involving BNT, the VICP also announced additional rulings of relief granted in five cases involving the AstraZeneca vaccine and three cases involving the Moderna vaccine.

Relief granted in cases involving the AZ vaccine was reported as NT$250,000 (US$9107), NT$100,000 (US$3,250), NT$75,000 (US$2,440), NT$30,000 (US$980), and NT$20,000 (US$650). In three of the cases involving AZ vaccines, patients were diagnosed with Gillian-Barre syndrome.

In all five cases, the VICP said the damages suffered by patients could not be conclusively attributed to the vaccine, but that relief was granted based on measures outlined in Article 18 of the Regulations Governing Collection and Review of Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund.

Relief granted in cases involving the Moderna vaccine was reported as NT$500,000 (US$16,300), NT$20,000 (US$650), and NT$5,000 (US$160). In the only other case involving the death of a patient, NT$500,000 was granted to the family of an elderly Taipei resident who died 10 days after taking the mRNA vaccine. The victim reportedly suffered from heart conditions prior to taking the vaccine.