Taiwan’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program comes under fire: treating human life as a trifling matter

Taiwan’s Department of Health and Welfare Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) came under fire today at a press conference where it was accused of treating human life as “a trifling matter.”

Legislators Chao-Tzu Chen (陳昭姿) of the Taiwan People’s Party, and Sean Liao (廖偉翔) of the Kuomintang held the press conference, pointing out that a recent judgement by the Taipei High Administrative Court showed that the VICP lacked transparency in procedures and suffered irregularities in the review process.

Chao and Liao were referring to a March 28 ruling in favor of the family of a woman named Liu (劉). Ms Liu died suddenly the day after receiving the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in 2022. Liu’s family applied for vaccine injury compensation the same year, but the case was rejected by the VICP.

Liao said that the VICP’s review process handled 90 cases in just two hours. Each case took just 80 seconds on average, to discuss and make a decision on the person’s cause of death, and whether to issue compensation. Making life-and-death decisions in 80 seconds and denying compensation was akin to treating human life as a trifling matter, Liao said.

Liao pointed out that the court judgment revealed three major issues. First of all, not only are the CDC meeting records not made public, the original file is only kept for one month. The recording is deleted before the litigation process is completed. Not only is there a serious lack of transparency, but it is also suspected of destroying evidence. There is no discussion process in the meeting minutes, only the “deliberation results”, and there are no relevant regulations on record retention. It is basically a black-box, three-no meeting with “no records, no recordings, and no regulations.”

Lawyer Weng Yiyin (翁伊吟) said that the court’s decision clearly pointed out that the review team’s judgements had many problems. For example, the appraisal report issued by the two appraisal committee members turned out to be based on the prosecutor’s autopsy report, but the prosecutor’s autopsy report is not to determine the cause of death, but to confirm whether or not homicide is involved. The autopsy report stated that Mrs. Lu had a family history of hypertension. “This sentence is a statement made by the family in the investigation transcript, and is not any medical certificate or evidence.” The appraisal committee member copied the entire relevant medical history and documentary evidence, and such an appraisal report has no credibility at all.”

Ms Liu’s husband, Mr. Lu (盧) made an emotional plea to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Lu said that his wife had already received two doses of the BNT vaccine. Then because the children’s school stipulated that a third dose of vaccine was required before entering the campus, his wife received the Moderna vaccine as an additional dose. Mr Lu choked up as he described his late wife as “the pillar of their family of four.”

“I hope the Ministry of Health and Welfare can provide reasonable compensation, because my wife was in good health and could take her family to hike and play badminton. Who could have known that after being vaccinated, it would be too late the next day? How will our family bear this? I hope the committee members will speak up for other family members and redress their grievances,” Mr Lu said.

Taiwan English News is an independent publication with no corporate funding. If you found this article informative, and would like to support my work, please buy me a coffee or support me on Patreon. Subscribe to Taiwan English News for free to receive the latest news via email. Advertising queries are welcome. Share, like, comment below.

Comment and discuss this story: While all opinions are welcome, comments will not be approved if they contain inflammatory speech.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.