Around 10,000 Australians are planning to file compensation claims for injury or loss of income resulting from COVID-19 vaccines.
Since Sept. 6, residents have begun registering their interest to make a claim under the federal government’s no-fault COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme, according to a Department of Health statement issued to The Epoch Times.
The scheme—announced in late August—will cover the costs of injuries A$1,000 or above. But claimants will need to have received a vaccine approved by Australian drug regulators and suffered a recognised “adverse event.”
“The recognised side effects to the COVID-19 vaccines are included in the approved Product Information and include thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) associated (blood-clotting) with the AstraZeneca vaccine and myocarditis and pericarditis associated with the Pfizer vaccine,” a Department of Health website stated.
Individuals need to have been hospitalised for claims between A$5,000 to A$20,000 for at least one night. The minimum claim has since been reduced to A$1,000 after pressure from Queensland Senator Gerard Rennick.
They must also provide medical documentation of the injury and evidence of medical costs and lost wages.
It comes after Australian state and territory governments continue pushing to increase vaccination rates across their populations, with vaccine mandates sweeping through various sectors and industries.
Victoria, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory have implemented some of the most comprehensive mandates affecting millions of Australian workers.
Meanwhile, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has encouraged Australians to provide regular reports on any side effects from an inoculation.
The Claims Scheme was announced in late August by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. The program is fully funded by taxpayers and will be backdated to February 2021.
“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,” Hunt said in a press release.
“It also ensures that health professionals administering vaccines will be able to continue with their crucial role in the vaccine roll out with the assurance that the claims scheme will offer them protection.”
Campbell Newman, former Queensland premier and now-candidate for the Australian Senate, says transparency around vaccine safety was important.
“There is a concern in the community that we don’t know the full story, and so I would firstly be advocating for complete openness on the part of the government. At the end of the day, that would lead to better confidence in the vaccines,” he told The Epoch Times.
He also emphasised that individuals should not be denigrated for their views or concerns around receiving the vaccine saying, “We’re in a democracy, and we shouldn’t be doing that.”
“In terms of people being able to make a claim around the associated health impact. Whether the payments are sufficient—I think time will tell—I’m sure that in some cases, it won’t be sufficient.”
Governments began indemnifying drug manufacturers last year in the race to produce vaccines against COVID-19.
The use of no-fault indemnity against lawsuits is commonplace for governments encouraging pharmaceutical companies to manufacture ground-breaking new medicine.
For example, in 2009, the UK government indemnified British multinational GlaxoSmithKline in developing a vaccine against the swine flu pandemic.