Coronavirus vaccine information for the media
PLEASE NOTE! We are receiving a lot of claims and contacts as the coronavirus vaccination programme progresses. We are now focusing on processing injury reports with optimal efficiency. You may accordingly not be able to contact us as quickly as usual. We respond to media inquiries with all possible speed.
The most rapid responses are generally made to questions submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please leave requests for telephone contact on +358 10 219 5712 (weekdays from 10 am to 2 pm, from 10 am to 1 pm in July and August).
Here is some information about coronavirus and our answers to frequently asked questions. We update this information at about weekly intervals.
STATE OF INJURY REPORTS – UPDATED 28.7.2021
331 injury reports have been submitted and 146 decisions have been issued to date on coronavirus vaccines, of which 73 have resulted in compensation payments and 73 have declined the claim. While we seek to process cases expeditiously, the principle of diligence is not compromised.
Compensation has so far been paid for temporary inconvenience, medical expenses arising from injury, and loss of earnings in some cases. Adverse reactions have been mild. Expenses are reimbursed according to true documented costs. Compensation for lost earnings is paid according to earnings actually lost.
Compensation has so far been paid mainly for various allergic reactions and pain caused by the vaccine, such as pain in the vaccination arm, and joint and muscle pain. Compensation has also been paid for other reasons in individual cases, but these cannot yet be outlined for reasons of data protection. We shall publish additional information if cases accrue to the extent that the personal privacy of individuals is not compromised by disclosing information. No serious unknown adverse reactions have been described in injury reports to date.
Does the government pay compensation for coronavirus vaccines? What is the State guarantee?
Compensation payments come from the Finnish Mutual Insurance Company for Pharmaceutical Injury Indemnities, meaning the pharmaceutical companies that finance the operations of the insurance company. The Finnish government serves as reinsurer in the event that total indemnities paid become very large.
An insurance company must always be sufficiently solvent. The COVID-19 pandemic is such a new and unknown risk that no insurance company can bear it alone. It is very common for insurance companies to share particularly large risks through reinsurance arrangements, but these are not yet available for coronavirus vaccines. Some other arrangement was required instead of reinsurance to enable pharmaceutical product insurance for coronavirus vaccines.
The Finnish government has accordingly granted an insurance guarantee to the Finnish Mutual Insurance Company for Pharmaceutical Injury Indemnities. A charge will be levied for this guarantee in the same way as for reinsurance. The guarantee applies to coronavirus vaccines that are procured in Finland through the EU procurement mechanism. Pharmaceutical product insurance correspondingly only covers coronavirus vaccines administered in Finland that were procured through this mechanism. All coronavirus vaccines administered in Finland are currently covered by insurance.
The insurance company will pay pharmaceutical product damage insurance compensation to injured parties when any reimbursable losses or damage are suffered due to coronavirus vaccines. The government will only contribute to compensation payments exceeding a total of EUR 3 million annually.
Are coronavirus vaccines insured?
Three coronavirus vaccines are currently administered in Finland: the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. Pharmaceutical insurance covers coronavirus vaccines that have been procured in Finland via the EU common procurement mechanism. All of the coronavirus vaccines currently administered in Finland meet this condition and are covered by insurance.
Could the Finnish Mutual Insurance Company for Pharmaceutical Injury Indemnities insure vaccines that Finland might obtain otherwise than through the EU procurement process?
The State guarantee applies to vaccines obtained through the EU procurement process. The reinsurance conditions for other vaccines would be complex. As a good level of vaccine availability has been reached, we are advised that Finland is not procuring vaccines otherwise than through the EU process, at least for the time being. We are ready for frank dialogue with all relevant stakeholders in the event of any change in this situation.
How many claim notifications have been submitted and compensation payments made for coronavirus vaccines?
331 injury reports have been submitted for coronavirus vaccines, with compensation awarded in 73 decisions and denied in 73 decisions. 185 cases are pending.
The adverse reactions reported have been transient and typical of vaccines. Compensation has been paid for temporary inconvenience and the costs of treating illness, and also for lost earnings. The grounds for compensation paid so far include allergic reactions to the vaccine and various forms of pain, such as pain in the vaccination arm and muscle and joint pain. Compensation has been declined in cases where the injury was minor, meaning that the symptoms caused by the vaccine did not last for 14 days, and in cases where there was no probable causal link between the vaccine and the reported symptom.
This information is updated at intervals of approximately one week. Further details, for example of the type of cases in which compensation has been paid, will be published when the number of cases is sufficient to ensure that data protection will not be compromised.
Are all harmful effects of coronavirus vaccines eligible for compensation?
Pharmaceutical insurance does not cover mild or minor vaccine damage. Personal injury caused by a vaccine is eligible for compensation when, due to the injury, the injured party has
- suffered an incapacity to work or otherwise impaired bodily functions for not less than 14 consecutive days, or
- sustained a permanent physical injury or illness, or
Even if the conditions set out in points 1-3 are not satisfied, an injured party may be reimbursed for unavoidable and necessary medical expenses and loss of earnings sustained in treating vaccine damage and totalling not less than EUR 85.
What does the insurance cover?
The insurance covers personal injuries caused by a vaccine. There must be a probable causal link between use of the vaccine and the damaging consequences. Pharmaceutical product or vaccine damage refers to a physical illness or injury that was probably caused by a drug or vaccine. A probable causal link means that the damaging consequences were either the certain or probable outcome of taking the vaccine.
Pharmaceutical insurance does not cover consequential pharmaceutical product damage.
An illness or injury caused by the failure of a vaccine to have the intended effect is not regarded as pharmaceutical product damage.
What kind of compensation is available?
The most common compensation for vaccine damage covers the costs of necessary and unavoidable medical care, together with earnings lost during periods of incapacity for work.
The compensation payable varies according to the details of the individual case. The nature and scope of insurance coverage depends on the kind of damage that was caused by taking the vaccine. These forms of damage vary widely, so the compensation also varies in nature and size.
Assessments of compensation apply the provisions of the Finnish Tort Liability Act (vahingonkorvauslaki, no. 412 of 1974) and any applicable norms and guidelines of the Traffic Accident Board.
Other compensation may be paid in rare, more serious cases. For further details, see
How much compensation is available?
The compensation depends on the damage suffered.
The costs incurred through pharmaceutical product damage will be reimbursed in full against receipts or other supporting documents.
The compensation payable for temporary incapacity (pain and suffering) depends on the degree of incapacity involved, which is assessed on medical grounds with the compensation determined according to the norms and guidelines of the Traffic Accident Board. Incapacity due to pharmaceutical product damage is generally not especially great, with most assessed to fall into incapacity categories between 1 and 3.
Any permanent functional incapacity is defined in accordance either with the Decree (1649/2009) or the Decision of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, depending on the time of receiving the injury, and the norms and guidelines of the Traffic Accident Board. Pharmaceutical product damage seldom causes permanent injury.
The size of compensation for lost earnings will be determined according to the income of the injured party.
Pharmaceutical insurance is a secondary compensation system, meaning that any statutory compensation for which the injured party is eligible will be deducted from the insurance compensation payable.
How long does it take to process compensation claims?
Pharmaceutical insurance cases typically take several weeks to investigate. Patient records relating to the claimant’s state of health are required to settle individual cases. It usually takes time to secure these records. Our organisation processes cases immediately when the necessary documents have been received. Compensation is also usually paid in several instalments. An initial lump sum is typically paid for temporary harm. We reimburse eligible expenses on receiving the associated payment receipts. Compensation for lost earnings is paid on completing the investigation of lost earnings.
How will the coronavirus pandemic and coronavirus vaccine insurance impact the finances of the Finnish Mutual Insurance Company for Pharmaceutical Injury Indemnities? Will the company remain solvent?
The coronavirus pandemic will not cause any instability in our company’s financial position. We are satisfied that a solution has been found under the circumstances, and that people in Finland are covered by a programme of coronavirus vaccinations. This is ultimately in everyone’s common interest.