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29 compensated for ill health costs after COVID vaccines in Japan first

A subcommittee session of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's screening committee for certification of sickness and disability to examine causal relationships between coronavirus vaccination and adverse health is held in Tokyo's Minato Ward on Aug. 19, 2021. (Mainichi/Hidenori Yazawa)

TOKYO -- Twenty-nine people who claimed their health was adversely affected by coronavirus vaccines have been granted medical expenses and health care allowances on Aug. 19, following a Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare screening subcommittee decision.

    The decision, the first of its kind offering relief to people vaccinated for COVID-19, was made in accordance with the Immunization Act, and concluded the connection between the issues could not be denied. The act covers individuals who experience poor health arising from inoculations, and uses a national government compensation system paying expenses including treatment fees and disability pensions.

    Applications for compensation can be filed with municipal governments, and benefits authorized if a causal relation between vaccination and health conditions is recognized by the health ministry's examination committee for certification of sickness and disability consisting of external experts.

    Coronavirus vaccine recipients are eligible, and on Aug. 19 the subcommittee session screened 41 applicants, of whom 37 are women and four men aged 18 to 83. All demanded payment of medical expenses and health allowances incurred by hospital visits and hospitalization.

    Among the adverse conditions they described were side effects including anaphylactic shock -- a severe allergic reaction -- acute allergic reactions, and anaphylactoid reactions. No lump-sum death benefits applications were made. Of the 41 cases, 29 were certified as health damage while decisions were deferred for 12. There were no instances of denied benefits.

    According to the health ministry, by July 25, of the around 74.13 million Pfizer vaccine doses administered, 360 anaphylaxis cases were reported, while eight such cases were observed among the around 3.58 million Moderna vaccine doses administered. By the end of July there were 919 deaths following coronavirus vaccination. A specialized subcommittee discussing side effects has stated it cannot evaluate the causal relation between vaccination and the deaths.

    (Japanese original by Hidenori Yazawa, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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