Czech bill passes allowing COVID-19 vaccine to be paid by health insurance

Under new legislation, the Czech state will pay an estimated CZK 5 billion to vaccinate 60-70% of the population.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 05.12.2020 09:41 (updated on 05.12.2020)

The cost of people's vaccination against COVID-19 should be covered by their health insurance, the Czech Chamber of Deputies decided on Friday in passing a new bill that also defines rules for the purchase and distribution of vaccines.

The bill was passed in shortened proceedings, and it will next be discussed by the other house of parliament, the Czech Senate, before being signed into law.

The Czech state will buy the vaccines based on an order made by the European Union. The vaccination will be voluntary. Health Minister Jan Blatný (for ANO) has said that the aim is to vaccinate 60 to 70 percent of the population.

If the bill is not passed, people will have to pay for the vaccines out of pocket.

Blatný said people would be less interested in getting vaccinated if they needed to pay for the vaccine. According to a report on the bill, vaccination of the Czech population may cost up to five billion crowns.

The Chamber of Deputies discussed the bill for nearly three hours on Friday, in particular proposals by MPs Karla Maříková (Freedom and Direct Democracy, SPD) and Lubomír Volný (Unified), who want to explicitly guarantee that people who are not vaccinated have the same rights as those who get vaccinated.

Blatný said that those changes were pointless. The plenary session ultimately rejected the proposals, but Maříková’s was only one vote short of approval.

The Czech state will choose a distributor of the vaccines based on negotiations that will not be released to the public. It will consider all possible distributors.

A doctor or a vaccination center will be paid 223 crowns for applying one vaccine, which is the same as in the case of other vaccines.

The bill also expects people to be compensated for potential damages caused by the vaccination.

No vaccine against COVID-19 has been officially approved as of yet.

The government plans to buy vaccines for about 5.5 million people, who may be vaccinated by late summer, 2021. The Czech Republic has 10.7 million inhabitants. People suffering from chronic diseases, the elderly, health personnel and workers in the critical state infrastructure should be given priority in the vaccine distribution.