AVAT establishes scheme to support widespread COVID-19 vaccine delivery in Africa

Prof. Benedict Orama, answering questions from journalists after the launch of the scheme

The African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) has officially launched a no-fault compensation programme for COVID-19 vaccines in participating countries in Africa and the Caribbean in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The AVAT No-Fault Compensation Scheme (AVAT NFCS) provides eligible individuals with prompt, fair and transparent compensation for unlikely adverse events associated with COVID-19 vaccines procured or distributed under the AVAT Advance Purchase Commitment Framework.

The AVAT NFCS is the first of its kind to be created by an African consortium. It is designed to reinforce public trust that, in the unlikely event of adverse effects related to COVID-19 vaccination, quick and easy access to compensation is guaranteed. Building this confidence is essential for achieving widespread vaccine adoption. This compensation programme is a central pillar of AVAT’s wider vaccine delivery strategy.

AVAT establishes scheme to support widespread COVID-19 vaccine delivery in Africa
Representatives of major institutional stakeholders in group picture after the launch

Set up in record time, the scheme provides no-fault lump-sum compensation in full and final settlement of any claims to individuals who suffer an injury as the result of a vaccine or its administration, eliminating the need for patients to demonstrate a defect in the relevant vaccine or any fault by any person. It applies to all vaccines procured or distributed under the AVAT Framework and no fees will be charged for individuals submitting applications.

The AVAT NFCS has been developed to maximize ease of use and accessibility, with the option for a digital claims channel and a user-friendly interface via the avatclaims.com web portal, which also provides explanatory information detailing the claim mechanism’s operation.

The Scheme is run by the AVAT NFCS Trust, a Mauritius based trust, which has appointed ESIS Inc. (ESIS) to be the scheme’s administrator. ESIS has over 30 years of relevant claims handling experience and has secured contact centers across Africa and the Caribbean to provide assistance to potential applicants in all participating Member States.

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), one of AVAT’s partner institutions, was instrumental in the drafting and completion of the rules governing the scheme, as well as its supporting documents. The Bank also drove the design and development of the AVAT NFCS web portal and digital channel, which enable users to submit claims and obtain information.

The African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) is a special purpose vehicle, incorporated in Mauritius. AVAT acts as a centralised purchasing agent on behalf of the African Union (AU) Member States, to secure the necessary vaccines and blended financing resources for achieving Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy which targets vaccinating a minimum of 60% of Africa’s population based on a whole-of-Africa approach.

AVAT was established by the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, which was set up in November 2020 by President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union (AU).

The initiative came as a support component to the COVID-19 Immunisation Strategy that was endorsed by the AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government in August 2020.

AVAT’s main partner institutions are the African Union’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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