Mon, Apr 15, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Teenager owed redress for HPV shot reaction: court

A LEGAL PRECEDENT:A medical review of the teenager’s symptoms confirmed her diagnosis, but did not explain why the vaccination could not have caused them, the ruling said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei High Administrative Court has ruled that the Ministry of Health and Welfare must compensate a teenage girl over an adverse reaction after receiving doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, marking the first such case in the nation.

A junior-high-school student, referred to by the pseudonym “Bella,” received a second dose of the HPV vaccine at her New Taipei City school on Sept. 30, 2016, but on Oct. 6, began to experience pain in her knees, shoulders, ankles and elbows, in what was suspected to be a case of vaccine-induced juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Bella’s parents on Dec. 13 that same year applied to the ministry for vaccination victim relief, but on May 4, 2017, a review committee at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) concluded that Bella’s symptoms were not caused by the vaccine.

Relief was not granted, but it did approve a NT$30,000 (US$972) subsidy for medical expenses.

On Jun. 5, 2017, the family was informed of the decision. An appeal was rejected, so it filed an administrative lawsuit against the ministry, asking for a penalty of NT$892,352.

The Taipei High Administrative Court on Thursday published its ruling, saying that the ministry should reverse its decision on Bella’s relief application and offer compensation of NT$20,000 to NT$1.2 million.

Bella’s medical records do not show arthritis or any other autoimmune disease before she received the second HPV vaccine, the court said, adding that the progression of her symptoms occurred shortly after the vaccination.

The two doctors that the centers’ committee had review Bella’s symptoms confirmed her diagnosis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, but they did not explain why it could not have been induced by the vaccine, the court added.

Victim relief serves as a compensation mechanism, so a lenient approach should be taken when identifying a causal relationship, but the ministry did not offer evidence showing the lack of any correlation between the vaccine and the suspected adverse reactions, the judgement said.

The written judgement had not yet arrived at the centers, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said on Friday, adding that the ruling would be analyzed and whether to appeal would be decided after discussing the decision with the committee and the Health Promotion Administration.

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