Govt reveals plans for COVID-19 vaccine indemnity scheme

How will the new indemnity scheme impact pharmacists? PDL provides some guidance

Pharmaceutical Defence Limited (PDL) has heralded the federal government’s new COVID-19 vaccine claim scheme as a positive move for pharmacists.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt announced on Friday that the government would establish a COVID-19 vaccine medical indemnity scheme to support claims made against pharmacists, GPs and nurses administering COVID vaccines as part of the Commonwealth vaccination program.

“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,” said Minister Hunt.

Proven claims would be able to receive appropriate compensation without the need of formal court processes, explained Minister Hunt. However potential claimants accessing the scheme would still have the option of pursuing action through a court judgement if that is their preference, he said.

According to the federal government, the COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme will be backdated to the start of the national vaccine rollout – 22 February 2021.

“Essentially, this scheme is good news,” PDL Chief Executive Officer David Brown told AJP.

“It will remove the cost of claims resulting from the administration of COVID-19 vaccines from the pharmacists and their professional indemnity insurance arrangements,” he said.

“It allows pharmacists and other health professionals to participate in this essential work without the fear of any resultant impact on insurance premiums or coverage.”

Mr Brown confirmed that PDL members will be supported by the scheme.

“PDL, working closely with Guild Insurance and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, has played an important role in successfully lobbying for this indemnity scheme on behalf of the pharmacy profession, and indeed all health professionals,” he stated.

“This work, which presciently flagged the possibility and implications of unforeseen, and potentially serious, adverse reactions, has resulted in a major de-risking of practice for all immunisers.

“While it is very pleasing to see this no fault indemnity scheme announced, more consultative work needs to be done to flesh out the details.”

Details of the scheme will be finalised in consultation with peak bodies, indemnity insurers, patient groups and states and territories.

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