No fault vaccine indemnity scheme secured

Pharmacy Guild, PDL welcome “common sense” scheme that offers a safety net to Australians receiving COVID-19 vaccines and protection to pharmacists administering them

Details of the no fault COVID-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme have been finalised following extensive consultation with peak medical, healthcare, business and insurance sectors, said Health Minister Greg Hunt on Saturday.

The Scheme will provide quick access to compensation for the small number of people who experience a moderate-to-significant adverse reaction to a TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccine.

“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 assurance that the claims scheme will offer them protection.”

Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President, Adjunct Professor Trent Twomey, told the AJP that bringing in the scheme was a “common sense move”.

“The Pharmacy Guild welcomes the adoption of a no-fault indemnity scheme for community pharmacists administering COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Adj Prof Twomey.

“This is a pragmatic and common sense move which will help further increase the uptake of vaccinations nationally.”

Pharmaceutical Defence Limited (PDL), which has previously heralded the vaccine claim scheme as a positive move for pharmacists, played an instrumental role in its formation.

“PDL is pleased to see the details of the Federal Government’s no fault COVID-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme finalised,” said Paul Naismith, Chair of PDL.

“Along with the Pharmacy Guild and Guild Insurance, PDL has been very active in discussions with the government and the insurance industry in endeavouring to achieve this outcome on behalf of our members,” said Mr Naismith.

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. However the scheme will be backdated to February 2021, the start of the national vaccine rollout.

It will cover the costs of injuries above $5,000 due to a proven adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination, with claims to be assessed by independent experts and compensation paid based on the recommendations.

The Scheme will provide Australians with an alternative, administrative option to seek compensation, rather than a complex and costly court process, said Minister Hunt.

Compensation payments under the Scheme will be fully funded by the Commonwealth.

Last month, PDL Chief Executive Officer David Brown explained that the Scheme will remove the cost of claims resulting from the administration of COVID-19 vaccines from the pharmacists and their professional indemnity insurance arrangements.

“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,” he told AJP.

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