A Japanese health ministry panel has awarded for the first time a lump sum compensation payment to the family of an elderly woman who died after suffering an allergic response and sudden heart attack related to a COVID-19 vaccination.
The woman, who was 91 when she received the vaccination, had pre-existing conditions including transient ischemic attacks, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. It has not released details on when she was inoculated nor how many shots she received.
The panel on Monday determined that a causal relationship between subsequent health problems and the vaccine could not be denied in the case.
A panel spokesperson said "a scientifically rigorous causal relationship is not necessary" in determining eligibility for damages.
The panel also evaluated another 11 cases of people aged from their 20s through to their 90s who suffered adverse reactions, but suspended judgment.
As of Monday, 3,680 people have had applications accepted for vaccine-related compensation, of which 850 were approved and 62 denied. Decisions for another 16, with some cases involving deaths, were postponed.
Under Japan's vaccination law, COVID-19 vaccines are considered "ad hoc." Under that designation, those whose deaths can be causally linked to a vaccine can receive a lump sum compensation payment of 44.2 million yen ($324,000), and a 212,000 yen contribution to funeral expenses.
A separate health ministry panel of experts, which analyzes side effects, has received reports of more than 1,700 cases of vaccine-related deaths from medical facilities, although no causal relationships have been recognized.