Over the last few weeks Dr Maria Boulton has asked a number of questions at the PCIG and directly to the task force. Some of these have now been answered.
A question and response are below:
Indemnity-related question ( No faults compensation scheme).
On 28 August 2021, the Australian Government announced details of the no fault COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme, following extensive consultation with the peak medical, healthcare, business, and insurance sectors to ensure a comprehensive national Scheme.
The Scheme will provide people with quicker access to compensation where they have suffered an adverse event related to a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved COVID-19 vaccination or its administration, irrespective of where the vaccination occurred.
If members are undertaking vaccinator roles using TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccines in private health care settings, this would still be considered within the scope of the Government’s COVID-19 Vaccines Program, and such practitioners’ patients would therefore be covered by the Scheme.
While side effects, or adverse events, from COVID-19 vaccinations can occur, most are mild and last no longer than a couple of days. Serious and life-threatening side effects are very rare. This Scheme provides a safety net to support those affected.
It also ensures that health professionals administering vaccines, including members, will be able to continue with their crucial role in the vaccine roll out with assurance that the claims scheme will offer them protection against time consuming litigation processes.
The Scheme will be administered by Services Australia and will provide people with a single front door to a simple and quick administrative process for compensation. The TGA will provide guidance on recognised adverse reactions as part of their established surveillance program.
The Scheme will cover the costs of injuries $5,000 and above due to a proven adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or its administration.
The cost of compensation payments under this Scheme will be fully funded by the Commonwealth and is designed to help the small number of people who unfortunately experience a moderate to significant adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme will be backdated to February 2021 and provide Australians with an alternative, administrative option to seek compensation, rather than a complex and costly court process.