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Ottawa adds $36 million to vaccination support program

Photo: Paul White Archives Associated Press The federal program provides financial compensation to people injured or killed by an approved vaccine.

Laura Osman – The Canadian Press in Ottawa

Published on April 24

  • Canada

The federal government has added $36.4 million to its program that supports people seriously injured or killed by an approved vaccine since the end of 2020.

This program has been created shortly after the start of the vaccination operation which took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides financial compensation to people who have suffered negative effects from vaccines approved by Health Canada.

The Liberals have set aside $75 million for the first five years of the program . To date, a private company called OXARO has received $56.2 million from Ottawa to manage the program and pay valid claims from outside Quebec.

As of December, the company had paid $11.2 million in compensation.

Quebec has had its own compensation program for vaccination victims since 1985 and received $7.75 million when the federal program was launched.

In its budget filed last week, the federal government has set aside an additional $36 million to cover the next two years of the program. This sum will be distributed between OXARO and Quebec.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) explains that it has entrusted the management of the program to OXARO to guarantee the impartiality of the claims process.

“OXARO operates independently of PHAC,” assured an agency spokesperson in a written statement.

“This means that PHAC does not participate in the administration of the program, including the evaluation of applications or appeal procedures regarding decisions. »

The cost of the program depends on the number of claims, recalled the spokesperson.

As of December, OXARO had received 2,233 requests and approved 138.

The available statistics do not specify which vaccines were concerned.

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Extremely rare

The program was launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, but covers injuries and deaths associated with vaccines approved for any disease, provided they were administered after December 8, 2020.

At the time, PHAC stressed that a serious adverse reaction to a vaccine is extremely rare — affecting fewer than one in a million people — but that the government has a duty to help if a reaction occurs. product.

A little less than a year later, Ottawa made vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory to travel by plane or train, or to work for the federal public service.

To be eligible to receive compensation, the patient must prove that they suffered a serious injury that modifies their living conditions or puts their life at risk. danger which results in persistent or significant incapacity or handicap, or which results in congenital malformation or death.

More than 105 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since December 14, 2020, and 0.01% of them have resulted in serious adverse reactions, according to Health Canada data.

Of the 488 deaths reported after people were vaccinated against COVID-19, four were directly linked to the vaccine, says the most recent Health Canada report.

Quebec experienced an increase in the number of claims to its compensation program, going from one claim in 2020 to 98 in 2021 and 2022.

Only three of these cases had been approved for compensation as of March 2023.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116