Afreximbank, stakeholders unveil compensation scheme to boost COVID-19 vaccine adoption
To accelerate COVID-19 vaccine acceptance, the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) yesterday launched a ‘No-Fault Compensation Programme(NFCS)’ for participating countries in Africa and the Caribbean to ensure prompt, fair and transparent compensation for unlikely adverse reactions associated with COVID-19 vaccines procured under the
AVAT purchase commitment framework.
AVAT acts as a centralised purchasing agent on behalf of the African Union (AU) Member States, to secure the necessary vaccines and blended financing resources for achieving Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy whichtargets vaccinating a minimum of 60% of Africa’s population.
Speaking at the launch of the scheme in Abijan yesterday, the President and Chairman, Board of Directors of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Professor Benedict Oramah said the product was designed to reinforce public trust that, in the unlikely event of an adverse effects related to COVID-19 vaccination, a quick and easy access to compensation is guaranteed.
He stated that building confidence for COVID-19 acceptance in participating countries in Africa and the Caribbean through the compensation schemes essential for achieving widespread vaccine adoption.
According to him, the scheme provides no-fault lump-sum compensation in full and final settlement of any claims to individuals who suffer an injury as the result of a vaccine or its administration, eliminating the need for patients to demonstrate any defect in the relevant vaccine.
Oramah stated that this applies to all vaccines procured or distributed under the AVAT framework without any fees charged for individuals submitting applications for claims.
He explained further that the compensation scheme is specific to the AVAT procurement of Johnson and Johnson vaccines, adding that there was collaborations with the COVAX facility.
According to him, the principles of the No Fault Compensation Scheme is that manufacturers as well as the public, even the individuals want to be protected because of the way the vaccines are developed in a very expedited manner .
“So it is important that a compensation scheme be put in place so that should severe adverse event occurs, people will have a predictable way of getting compensation.
” For Africa, it was not easy with 55 countries and smaller economies. It was becoming a challenge . We had to work to put in place a continent wide framework to make it possible for those who wouldn’t have been able to do it, to be able to get it without it, they wouldn’t have had access to the vaccines in the first place.”
He listed the AVAT’s main partner institutions to include: African Union, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Afreximbank.
He said the initiative is first of its kind to be created by an African consortium, urging all African countries to adopt the scheme to accelerate vaccine boost adoption of the vaccine in Africa.
He urged African leaders to roll out massive enlightenment campaign to ensure that citizens understand what the scheme offers and encourage better vaccine uptake .
“With joint efforts, we can proudly say Africa has a robust and viable NFCS that is competitive any where in the world. All African countries should quickly adopt the scheme.
” African Union has decided to institutionalise it as African wide soft scheme health infrastructure. It will also make Africa a stronger force in terms of public health perspective. ”
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa( UNECA), Dr Vera Songwe said the initiative is a wake up call for African to revolutionalise its health care system and intensify efforts in vaccine production.
She said: “Africa can not afford more lock down. Each lock down takes 2.5 per cent of our GDP. We look forward to other innovations that would help improve our health care delivery to protect lives and ensure that our market provides support needed across sectors.”