On May 1, a novel vaccine insurance law came into force in Estonia. Under the new law, a patient or their relatives can apply for compensation for personal injury caused by severe vaccination-related complications. LEXTAL’s attorneys-at-law Olavi-Jüri Luik and Rauno Kinkar played a key role in drafting the vaccine insurance law (medicines act).

Below is an intro to why the new insurance model is necessary and also how to apply for compensation in case of side effects.

Why Vaccine Insurance?

Severe complications from vaccination are statistically infrequent. However, side effects still exist. The advantage of vaccine insurance is that it helps to reduce people’s fears about vaccination. To lessen these fears, vaccine insurance has been introduced in about 30 countries worldwide. The advantage of insurance is that a person does not have to enter into a dispute with a vaccine manufacturer who is economically more capable and as such a difficult opponent.

The new law guarantees that vaccine damages are paid via vaccine insurance if a patient who has been vaccinated in Estonia dies or has severe damage to health that lasts for at least four months. A doctor must document the condition.

Claim within a year, processing up to half a year

Patients with vaccine side effects are now entitled to claim compensation from the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. In case of side effects, a patient or their relatives must submit a compensation claim within one year after the vaccination. The Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF) checks the circumstances of the incident, including asking the position of the State Agency of Medicines whether there is a causal link between the vaccination and the damage caused by the patient or not. If the State Agency of Medicines identifies a minimum probable connection, the EHIF will pay up to 100,000 euros in compensation, depending on the health damage. Although the vaccine insurance takes effect from 01.05.2022, the damage caused by COVID vaccines is also compensated retrospectively. If the patient has suffered severe side effects from the COVID vaccine before 01.05.2022, the patient is still entitled to claim damages from the Health Insurance Fund until 01.05.2023.

Claims for compensation and the necessary documents could be sent by e-mail, on paper or via the patient portal www.digilugu.ee. To find the best way to submit a claim, you should first fill in a short question on the EHIF website https://www.haigekassa.ee/vaktsiinikahjude-huvitise-kusimustik.