Coronavirus vaccine (illustrative)
Coronavirus vaccine (illustrative) iStock

Israel’s coronavirus vaccination program is due to begin within the week, but one of the most critical related issues – that of who will take responsibility for any harm caused by the vaccines – has yet to be resolved, and it now appears likely that this will cause a delay in the start of the program.

According to a report on Channel 11 News, several of the country’s health funds are threatening not to begin vaccinating until the government commits itself to taking responsibility for any harm caused by the vaccines. According to Kan News, a senior official in one of the health funds told them that, “If the government refuses to take the responsibility, we won’t vaccinate even a single person. We are not equipped to take on such a risk – we are, essentially, a business entity and we could collapse otherwise.”

Another senior official from a different health fund noted, also to Kan News, that, “The Health Ministry is messing us around – at least, that’s what it looks like to me. The nurses or doctors who are supposed to be doing the vaccinations don’t even know if they are covered by insurance – they are rightfully concerned that they could find themselves hauled into court in ten years’ time.”

In the last few weeks, the question of including damages resulting from coronavirus vaccines in the Vaccine Victims Insurance Law has been discussed in the relevant government offices; however, to date, no progress has been made on this issue. What the government has done, on the other hand, is promise vaccine manufacturers that they will not be held to account for harm caused by vaccines, without, apparently, resolving the question of who will be held to account in their place.

The health funds are now pointing out that the Health Ministry has not provided them with sufficient data to reassure them regarding coronavirus vaccines, even after being informed that they are to commence their vaccination program just a few days after the program begins in the country’s hospitals on Sunday, December 20.