Czech Republic Covid Vaccine NFCS
The Czech Republic introduced a no-fault compensation scheme for vaccine injuries in 2020, which is regulated under the Act No. 116/2020 Coll. on Compensation for Damage Caused by Compulsory Vaccination of 8 April 2020. The scheme was extended to COVID-19 vaccination in December 2020, though the passing of the Act No. 569/2020 Coll of 23 December 2020.
The administrator of this scheme is the Czech Ministry of Health (Ministerstvo zdravotnictví) – see Act No. 116/2020, §4(1). The Ministry may establish an independent expert commission to assess complex cases (§6).
The funding for the scheme comes from the Czech government.
This NFCS covers compulsory vaccines and Covid-19 vaccines acquired by the Czech Republic on the basis of Commission Decision C(2020) 4192 final of 18 June 2020.
Although not specifically indicated in the law, it seems this scheme includes vaccines approved for emergency use and standard approvals.
It is unclear whether this NFCS covers temporary injuries or whether it only covers permanent injuries.
Under this NFCS only eligible injuries are covered. Eligible injuries are particularly serious injuries to the vaccinated person's health causing pain and suffering, loss of earnings and 'deteriorated social position' – see Act No. 116/2020, § 2.
Charges for making a claim
It is not known whether there is a charge for making a claim under this scheme.
Under this scheme the following categories of individuals are permitted to make a claim:
- An injured vaccinated person;
- Those who have incurred costs associated with the care of the injured vaccinated person, their health or their household;
- A person close to someone who has died or suffered a serious injury following vaccination.
Note that, according to CMS (https://cms.law/en/int/expert-guides/cms-expert-guide-to-vaccine-compensation-regimes/czech-republic), it is unclear whether third parties compensation provisions in Act No. 116/2020 also apply to COVID-19 vaccines or only to damage caused by compulsory vaccinations.
It is not known whether under this scheme the claimant is allowed to nominate a legal representative to make their claim.
This scheme pays the following:
Live vaccine recipient
Dependants of vaccine recipient
Person close to a deceased vaccine recipient
Both eligible economic and eligible non-economic losses are compensated
No Compensation is specifically provided for the dependants of injured vaccinated people.
Only eligible non-economic losses are compensated
It is not known whether NFCS payment consists of periodic payments, lump sum payments, or a mix of periodic payments and lump sum payments.
The Czech NFCS compensates claimants who have been injured by an eligible vaccine (compulsory vaccines and certain Covid-19 vaccines procured by the Czech Republic) in case of particularly serious injury to the vaccinated person's health, pain and suffering, loss of earnings and 'deteriorated social position' – see Act No. 116/2020, § 2. Compensation is also offered to cover costs associated with the care of the vaccinated person, their health or their household. This latter type of compensation is awarded to the person who has incurred these costs. Following the death or serious injury of a vaccinated person, the state also offers compensation to 'a person close to the vaccinated person for mental suffering'.
However, as stated above, it is important to note that it is unclear whether compensation provisions related to third parties also apply to COVID-19 vaccines or only to damage caused by compulsory vaccinations, as Act No. 569/2020 does not expressly refer to Act No. 116/2020 regarding damage suffered by third parties (see CMS page here).
It is not specified whether funeral costs are covered under this NFCS.
Damages appear to be assessed on an individual basis – however, it should be noted that there are guidelines published by the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic for calculation of compensation for non-property damage which, although non-binding, are routinely followed by court (see https://next.codexis.cz/judikatura/JD209965#L1). It is unclear whether the Ministry of Health follows these guidelines in its assessment of vaccine injury claims.
Loss of earnings are covered under this NFCS. They seem to be quantified on an individual basis (Act No. 116/2020, § 5(2)).
There is no specified maximum quantum that can be awarded under this scheme.
Time limits for claims
The scheme does not seem to set a time limit between vaccination and the adverse event occurring.
There is no information on specific time limits to file a claim under this compensation scheme.
Evaluating claims – standard of proof required
Adverse reactions likely linked to a specific vaccine are listed in an implementing decree for the NFCS - for such reactions, a presumption of causality exists (therefore, the applicant will not have to offer proof of causation when an adverse reaction is among those listed in the decree). As of March 2021, no adverse reactions to Covid-19 vaccines have been included in the decree (see https://ceelegalmatters.com/czech-republic/16149-czech-republic-to-compensate-for-harm-suffered-as-a-result-of-covid-19-vaccination).
Appeals and the right to litigate
There is a restricted right to litigate - The NFCS-implementing legislation does not exclude the obligation of the state to compensate for damage according to other laws. For cases covered by the NFCS, exercising the right to compensation through NFCS is a condition for the eventual exercise of the right to compensation for damage in court. (see §1(2) and §5(6) Act no. 116/2020).
There is an external review process where the decision of the Ministry of Health can by challenged through litigation in court.
Useful information and links
It is not known whether the scheme produces periodic reports including data on claims & financial performance.
Links to legislation:
Act No. 116/2020 Coll.: https://www.zakonyprolidi.cz/cs/2020-116
Act No. 569/2020 Coll.: https://www.zakonyprolidi.cz/cs/2020-569