Managing risk

COVID-19 vaccine: no-fault compo scheme for adverse reactions

The Morrison Government has finalised the details of its ‘No Fault COVID-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme’ following extensive consultation with peak medical, healthcare, business, and insurance sectors.  

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

The Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme offered 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,” Minister Hunt said.

“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 the claims scheme will offer them protection.”

How it works

The scheme will cover the costs of injuries of $5,000 and above due to the administration of a TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccine or due to an adverse event that is considered to be caused by a COVID-19 vaccination.

The recognised side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are included in the approved product information and include thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine and myocarditis and pericarditis associated with the Pfizer vaccine.

For claims between $5,000 and $20,000, claimants need to have been hospitalised for at least one night, will need to nominate they are seeking less than $20,000, and provide applicable evidence of:

  • the nature of the injury and medical documentation of its likely relationship to a COVID-19 vaccination
  • hospitalisation, due to a vaccine-related injury
  • medical costs
  • lost wages.

The evidence requirements for claims $20,000 and over, including death, are still being developed and will be advised as part of additional information on the scheme in the future. Claims relating to a death will not require evidence of hospitalisation.

What it means for employers

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said the scheme reduced the risks and uncertainties businesses faced for implementing voluntary vaccination drives.

ACCI has long advocated for indemnity protections so that employers would not be saddled with the costs from a reaction or injury caused by vaccination. 

“We know that as vaccine supply grows, workplace vaccination programs will have an increasingly important role in the national rollout,” chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“Many employers had indicated that they are willing to assist and are actively considering workplace vaccination programs however, employers like clinicians raised ongoing concerns about indemnity arrangements to cover administration of COVID-19 vaccines."

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.  

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 from the COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme webpage.

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.

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 Rollout Scheme will be backdated to February 2021 and will provide Australians with an alternative, administrative option to seek compensation, rather than a complex and costly court process.

Australians who receive a COVID-19 vaccination and have an adverse event are encouraged to report it to their doctor who can provide the information to the TGA to ensure such events are included in its reporting.

Read more about the scheme here.

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