The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) said it welcomes the Federal Government finalising a national no fault indemnity scheme for COVID-19 vaccination.
Announcing the details of the scheme this week, health minister Greg Hunt said the COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme offers protection to Australians receiving vaccines as well as health professionals administering them.
The scheme will provide Australians with quick access to compensation for the very rare cases of adverse side effects.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price welcomed it as a positive step forward.
“The RACGP, along with other medical groups, has been working closely with the Federal Government on the development of this scheme and I am very pleased to see it come to fruition,” she said.
“It’s really important that people receiving vaccines, as well as those administering them, including general practices, have a safety net of protection, even though we know adverse side effects are very rare.
“This scheme does just that. It is primarily to save patients having to go through complicated legal processes to seek compensation in the event of very rare side effects.”
Price said GPs are the backbone of the vaccine rollout, delivering well over half of all vaccinations across Australia.
“It [the scheme] also provides peace of mind and protection for GPs working hard on the frontline of the vaccine rollout.
“This is great news for patients right across the country because we know most patients want to get their COVID-19 vaccine from their usual GP, who knows their medical history and they trust to provide expert advice.
Price said the Covid vaccine rollout is the largest mass vaccination program in living memory, and it is urgent.
“The new Delta variant is far more transmissible than previous variants; vaccination is essential to protect our communities and it is our pathway to easing restrictions and avoiding future lockdowns.
“My message to anyone eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine who has not yet booked in is simple – do not delay, book in as soon as you can.
“We have two very safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available. By getting vaccinated you are protecting yourself, as well as your loved ones.”
From September 6, Australians who suffer injury and loss of income due to their COVID-19 vaccine will be able to register their intent to claim here.
The scheme will cover the costs of injuries above $5000 due to a proven adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination, and payments will be fully funded by the Commonwealth.
The Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) will provide guidance on recognised adverse reactions as part of their established surveillance program.