Record COVID vaccine injury payout approved for patient who suffered Guillain–Barré syndrome, thrombosis, and thrombocytopenia

The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program of the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced today that a resident of Taitung County will receive a compensation payment of NT$1.2 million, the highest on record for a suspected COVID vaccine injury, after a determination at the committee’s most recent meeting, December 16.

According to a report by Taiwan’s Central News Agency, the Taiwanese citizen, who is unnamed in the announcement, developed Guillain–Barré syndrome, suspected thrombosis, and thrombocytopenia after being administered the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19.

After first being diagnosed as having Guillain–Barré syndrome, magnetic resonance imaging showed the patient had also suffered cerebral embolism, transverse venous embolism, and thrombocytopenia. However, the results of D-dimer and anti-PF4 tests did not match the typical clinical manifestations of thrombosis and thrombocytopenia.

The VICP made their decision based on medical records, clinical manifestations, relevant test results, and existing medical evidence suggesting that the AstraZeneca vaccine may be associated with Guillain–Barré syndrome, thrombosis and thrombocytopenia.

The VICP report concluded that the relationship between Guillain-Barré syndrome symptoms and the AstraZeneca vaccination cannot be ruled out.

The spokesperson of the Central Epidemic Command Center Chuang Jen-hsiang told media at a press briefing this evening that the case was granted NT$1.2 million, which is the highest amount of relief for victims of COVID-19 vaccination so far.

As for the second highest relief for victims of COVID-19 vaccination, the VICP meeting in October 2021 awarded a Taoyuan man who developed thrombosis and thrombocytopenia after being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine NT$900,000.

Taiwan’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is struggling to keep up with the number of adverse events reported. In late October, a question raised in Taiwan’s parliamentary body, the Legislative Yuan, pointed out that 1,650 applications for vaccine injury compensation had been made as of October 21. With only nine monthly meetings held up to that point in 2021, and only a couple of dozen cases determined in each meeting, it would take years to get through the backlog, when it had been promised that cases should be determined within six months.

According to Angle Health Law Review, Taiwan’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was initiated in 1998, and up to March of 2018, 1699 cases had been reviewed, of which 757 cases received compensation.

According to this data, the number of vaccine adverse events reported in 2021 alone will likely have exceeded that of the first 20 years of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Vaccinations for COVID-19 in Taiwan began on March 22, 2021.

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