COVID-19 indemnity scheme announced to encourage vaccinations

The Federal Government has announced that it is establishing a COVID-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme

Written on 7 July, 2021
Tanaya Das

The Federal Government has announced that it is establishing a COVID-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme to provide assurance and confidence to patients and health professionals in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt has revealed in the event someone suffers a significant adverse reaction, causing injury and economic loss because of vaccination, the Scheme will help guide potential claimants through a no fault claims process scheme.

Andrew Hall, CEO Insurance Council of Australia welcomed Hunt’s announcement and said, “Insurers recognise their important role in supporting practitioners who are on the front line of delivering this vitally important program for all Australians.”

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Dr Omar Khorshid said the new indemnity scheme gives patients and doctors alike yet another reason to continue to support the COVID-19 vaccine roll out.

“Nearly all patients and doctors will never need to use the indemnity scheme, but having it in place will give peace of mind to patients and doctors alike,” Khorshid said.

“We first proposed such a scheme in January and have worked closely with Government to get the insurance scheme introduced.”

Under the scheme, proven claims will be able to receive appropriate compensation without the need of formal court processes. Potential claimants accessing the scheme will still have the option of pursuing action through a court judgement if that is their preference.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme will be backdated to the start of the national vaccine rollout – 22 February 2021 – and will be linked to the Human Biosecurity Emergency Period under the Biosecurity Act 2015. The scheme will support claims made against privately practising health professionals who administer a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Details of the COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme will be finalised in consultation with peak bodies, indemnity insurers, patient groups and states and territories.

To further support the choice of people considering their vaccine options, from 29 June the Government is extending two Medicare items that allow GPs and other medical practitioners to provide in-depth clinical assessments of a patient’s individual health risks and benefits. Already available for patients aged 50 years and over, these Medicare items will be available for all patients, regardless of age.