No fault COVID-19 indemnity scheme

No fault COVID-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme announced after consultation with the peak bodies in medicine, healthcare, business and insurance

Written on 1 September, 2021
Tanaya Das

The Australian Government has finalised the details of the no fault COVID-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme following extensive consultation with the peak medical, healthcare, business, and insurance sectors to ensure a comprehensive national scheme.

It will provide Australians with quick access to compensation for COVID-19 claims related to the administration of a Therapeutic Goods Administration approved COVID-19 vaccine delivered through a Commonwealth Government approved program. The 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.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme offers protection to Australians receiving a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine, irrespective of where that vaccination occurs. “Side effects, or adverse events, from COVID-19 vaccinations can occur, but most are mild and last no longer than a couple of days. Serious and life-threatening side effects are very rare, but it is important that we provide a safety net to support those affected.”

“It also ensures that health professionals administering vaccines will be able to continue with their crucial role in the vaccine roll out with the assurance that the claims scheme will offer them protection.”

The scheme will be administered by Services Australia and will provide Australians 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 its established surveillance program. 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 a significant adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) President Dr Karen Price welcomed it as a positive step forward, “This scheme is primarily to save patients having to go through complicated legal processes to seek compensation in the event of very rare side effects. GPs are the backbone of the vaccine rollout, delivering well over half of all vaccinations across Australia. It also provides peace of mind and protection for GPs working hard on the frontline of the
vaccine rollout.

“This is great news for patients right across the country because we know most patients want to get their COVID-19 vaccine from their usual GP, who knows their medical history and they trust to provide expert advice. I look forward to continuing to work with the Federal Government on the vaccine rollout. This is the largest mass vaccination program in living memory, and it is urgent.”

From 6 September, Australians who suffer injury and loss of income due to their COVID-19 vaccine will be able to register their intent to claim online. The scheme will cover the costs of injuries above $5,000 due to a proven adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination. Claims will be assessed by independent experts, and compensation paid based on the recommendations.