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Had a bad jab reaction? If it cost you over $5k, you can claim it

·3-min read
If you suffered a very bad reaction to a vaccine and you spent more than $5,000 in health costs, the Government will cover it. (A health worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca Plc Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center set up at the Royal Melbourne Exhibition Centre in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesay, June 8, 2021. (Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg
If you suffered a very bad reaction to a vaccine and you spent more than $5,000 in health costs, the Government will cover it. (A Melbourne health worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

Australians who endure a significant adverse reaction to their COVID-19 vaccine and lose work as a result will be covered by a new government compensation scheme from next Monday.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Government had put the finishing touches to the No Fault COVID-19 Indemnity Scheme, which will cover anyone who can prove they’ve suffered injuries that have cost them more than $5,000.

“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,” said a statement from Health Minister Greg Hunt’s office.

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The scheme will be run by Services Australia, which also runs Centrelink payments. Claims of adverse reactions will be assessed by “independent experts”.

Compensation will then be based on the experts’ recommendations.

Most side effects of COVID-19 vaccines are mild and usually only last a few days, Hunt said.

“Serious and life-threatening side effects are very rare, but it is important that we provide a safety net to support those affected,” he 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.”

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20: Health Minister Greg Hunt speaks during a press conference on August 20, 2021 in Canberra, Australia. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed 94 evacuees from Kabul had arrived in Perth in the early hours of this morning as part of Australia's evacuation mission in Afghanistan, with an additional 60 evacuees were transferred from Kabul to the base in the UAE last night, a combination of Australians and Afghan visa holders. (Photo by Rohan Thomson/Getty Images)
Health Minister Greg Hunt. (Photo by Rohan Thomson/Getty Images)

The compensation payments will be fully funded by the Federal Government and will be backdated to February 2021.

The statement from Hunt’s office said the scheme was designed to give Australians a “single front door” to easily and quickly resolve compensation claims rather than going through a complex and expensive court process.

If you suffered a particularly strong reaction to the COVID-19, report it to your doctor, who will provide information to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Next Monday, Australians can visit this website if they wish to make a compensation claim.

In earlier months, hesitancy about the AstraZeneca vaccine over links to a “very rare but serious side effect” of blood clots were leading some GPs to refusing to offer it to some people under 50 until the Government made clear where the legal liability lay if patients developed serious side effects.

Though the chance of this occurring is described by the Department of Health as “very low” (4-6 vaccinated people per million), the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) continues to recommend Pfizer as the preferred vaccine for adults under 60 years old.

But the group has also “strongly urged” Australians to consider any available vaccine, including AstraZeneca, arguing that its benefits far outweigh the risks of the extremely rare side effects.

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