In the near future, some Ukrainians will not only be unable to choose a vaccine for vaccination against coronavirus but also will not be able to count on compensation. With the manifestation of serious side effects from the vaccine or even with a fatal outcome, no financial assistance is provided. According to the law, the manufacturer will be clean not only of "side effects," but even if part of the doses of his drug turns out to be of poor quality and ineffectiveness.
The prime minister registered bill No. 5247, according to which liability is removed from manufacturers of vaccines against coronavirus. And this is after vaccinations of even high-quality (according to the estimates of most research centers in the world) Pfizer led to various consequences, ranging from allergic reactions to strokes.
The explanatory note to the document states that this is necessary as part of the COVAX assistance program for poor countries. Otherwise, we would not have been able to get a free vaccine. We are talking about a hundred thousand doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and about 3 million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.
In addition, WHO has promised pre-trial compensation for vaccine victims. From March 31 to June 30, 2022, 92 poor countries, including Ukraine, will be able to apply for compensation. Moreover, it will be possible to receive financial compensation even if the COVAX vaccine is introduced to them before the end of March.
But there is one "but." It follows from the draft law that it is not only the manufacturers of vaccines that we will receive under COVAX that will not be held liable. The document is written in such a way that the norm will apply to absolutely all manufacturers, including domestic ones. The victims of the vaccination with the Indian Covishield, which has already been banned in at least 13 countries, and other vaccines that Ukraine will buy, will not be able to receive compensation from the manufacturers. And they won't be able to from WHO.
Legislators lead us to the fact that this is the price for drugs that the authorities were unable to obtain.
In theory, ministers could, at least in advance, inform Ukrainians about the risks and opportunities they may have to deal with when vaccinating with one or another drug. But information, on the contrary, is hidden. The drugs will be distributed according to the vaccination points in manual mode, and, according to a recent decree of the Cabinet of Ministers, information about them will be kept secret.
So, heading to the vaccination center, none of the patients can be sure that if something happens he will be able to count on material support. And how to understand that, for example, the proposed Oxford/AstraZeneca was supplied exactly according to COVAX, and not purchased by the Ukrainian government, is unclear.
For those who will be vaccinated with the obvious "not-COVAX," there are two options: either to refuse vaccination already at the vaccination point or to hope for "miracle." And in case of trouble, try to sue the company that bought the vaccine, or the Ministry of Health.
Of course, the authorities could take upon themselves compensation for "not-COVAX," but nothing has been heard about this yet. Why the corresponding bill has not yet been submitted is unknown. It is unlikely that the authors of initiative No. 5247 Shmygal and Radutsky do not understand this need.
"If under international agreements it is necessary to remove liability from the manufacturer, then the government should take this responsibility upon itself. A law can be adopted where any side effects and negative consequences due to vaccination will be compensated by the government of Ukraine. But it wants to get a free vaccine without consequences," Rostyslav Kravets, lawyer, says.
The expert also emphasizes that the authorities will share medical information about the effects of drugs, which is not much different from a scientific experiment. He recalls that in Ukraine there have already been cases when foreign manufacturers were brought to justice for attempts to conduct experiments on Ukrainians. In this case, it will be impossible to do this.
Interestingly, Ukraine has not yet received a single dose of the vaccine under the COVAX program, although we should have received a batch of Pfizer back in February. There is no confirmation of future deliveries yet, but a bill for COVAX has already been submitted.
Violation of the rights of Ukrainians to medical care and to live under the guise of implementing European approaches has long been a norm in our country. But this time the authorities have broken a new bottom.