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What Will Happen When The No-Fault COVID-19 Vaccine Scheme Comes Into Effect?

Earlier this year, we talked about the Australian Government's proposed COVID-19 vaccine indemnity scheme. At the time of the article, there was little information surrounding the scheme and what it would entail. 

The Australian Government (Department of Health) has now provided further details on the proposed no fault COVID-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme.

The Australian Government has confirmed the scheme is for those who experience “a moderate to significant” adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine.[1] However, what is considered “a moderate to significant” adverse reaction has not be clarified.

The scheme seeks to provide “quick access” to reimbursement or compensation without having to resort to expensive and “complex legal proceedings.”[2]

The scheme will be funded by the Commonwealth and administered by Services Australia with the assistance of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).[3]

However, there are a few restrictions on who will be eligible to claim from this scheme.

Firstly, the scheme will only cover costs of injuries of $5,000 and above.[4] Accordingly, claims for less than $5,000 will not be covered by the scheme.  

Furthermore, claimants will only be able to claim reimbursement/compensation between $5,000 and $20,000 if:[5]

  • they were hospitalised for at least one night
  • confirm “they are seeking less than $20,000”
  • be able to provide evidence as to:
    • the fact that their injury was likely related to the COVID-19 vaccine
    • their hospitalisation
    • their medical expenses
    • their lost wages

The Australian Government is yet to advise on the “evidence requirements” for claims over $20,000 (including death) or how such claims will be handled under the scheme.[6]

 In addition, the scheme will only apply to COVID-19 vaccines which have been approved by the TGA. Currently, only two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the TGA: Vaxzevria

(AstraZeneca) and Comirnaty (Pfizer).[7] However, provisional approval has been granted for Spikevax (Moderna0).[8]

The Australia Government has advised it is creating a portal by which claims and relevant evident can be submitted. Potential claimants can register their interest in making a claim here.

 

[1] Australian Government (Department of Health), ‘COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme’, Department of Health (webpage, 6 September 2021) <https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-vaccine-claims-scheme>

[2]Hon Greg Hunt MP (Minister for Health and Aged Care), ‘No Fault COVID-19 Indemnity Scheme’ Ministers: Department of Health (media release, 28 August 2021) <https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/no-fault-covid-19-indemnity-scheme>

[3] Hon Greg Hunt MP (Minister for Health and Aged Care), ‘No Fault COVID-19 Indemnity Scheme’ Ministers: Department of Health (media release, 28 August 2021) <https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/no-fault-covid-19-indemnity-scheme>

[4] Australian Government (Department of Health), ‘COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme’, Department of Health (webpage, 6 September 2021) <https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-vaccine-claims-scheme>

[5] Australian Government (Department of Health), ‘COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme’, Department of Health (webpage, 6 September 2021) <https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-vaccine-claims-scheme>

[6] Australian Government (Department of Health), ‘COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme’, Department of Health (webpage, 6 September 2021) <https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-vaccine-claims-scheme> 

[7] Australian Government (Department of Health), ‘COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 09.09.2021’, Therapeutic Goods Administration (webpage, 9 September 2021) < https://www.tga.gov.au/periodic/covid-19-vaccine-weekly-safety-report-09-09-2021>

[8] Australian Government (Department of Health), ‘COVID-19 vaccine weekly safety report – 09.09.2021’, Therapeutic Goods Administration (webpage, 9 September 2021) < https://www.tga.gov.au/periodic/covid-19-vaccine-weekly-safety-report-09-09-2021>


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