Finalised no-fault indemnity scheme gives GPs ‘peace of mind’

Paul Hayes

28/08/2021 2:34:00 PM

RACGP President Dr Karen Price has welcomed the Government scheme, which she says provides ‘protection for GPs working hard on the frontline of the vaccine rollout’.

Vaccine needle in arm
The scheme applies to TGA-approved vaccines, irrespective of where that vaccination occurs. (Image: AAP)

The Federal Government has finalised the details of its COVID-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme, ensuring protection for Australians who receive vaccines – as well as the health professionals administering them.
The scheme, which comes into effect from 6 September, will provide anyone who experiences a serious adverse reaction to a vaccine delivered through a Government-approved program with ‘quick access to compensation’.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the scheme applies to TGA-approved vaccines, irrespective of where that vaccination occurs.
‘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 rollout with assurance that the claims scheme will offer them protection.’
RACGP President Dr Karen Price welcomed the finalised scheme as a positive step forward for GPs and patients.
‘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,’ she said. ‘This scheme does just that.
‘GPs are the backbone of the vaccine rollout, delivering well over half of all vaccinations across Australia. [The scheme] provides peace of mind and protection for GPs working hard on the frontline of the vaccine rollout.’
Administered by Services Australia, the scheme helps to provide people with a simple administrative process by which to access compensation. It will cover the costs of injuries above $5000 due to a ‘proven adverse reaction’ to vaccination.
‘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 … they trust to provide expert advice,’ Dr Price said.
The RACGP, along with other medical groups, has previously worked closely with the Federal Government on the development of the scheme.
‘I look forward to continuing to work with the Federal Government on the vaccine rollout,’ Dr price said. ‘This is the largest mass vaccination program in living memory, and it is urgent.’
The two vaccines currently approved for use in Australia – AstraZeneca and Pfizer – have both been associated with rare side effects.
According to the most recent TGA safety report, 116 cases (67 confirmed, 49 probable) of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) have been linked the AstraZeneca vaccine from approximately 8.8 million doses (0.0013%) administered in Australia, while Pfizer has been linked to 235 cases of myocarditis and/or pericarditis from 8.2 million doses (0.0028%) administered in Australia.
That same report also included a warning over Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The TGA said the warning added to the vaccine’s Product Information is a ‘precautionary measure’ in response to rare cases following vaccination in Australia and internationally.

From 6 September, Australians who experience injury and loss of income due to their COVID-19 vaccine will be able to register their intent to claim at
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Dr Annette Hackett   31/08/2021 9:28:48 AM

And now we await a universal no-fault indemnity scheme for all vaccines. If we are confident that vaccines save lives (as I am), then we need to protect those we encourage to be vaccinated. While adverse events to immunisations (as to most medical procedures) are expected, no other scheme puts the onus on the individual to do something which may put themselves at risk for the sake of their fellows. Individuals then bear the cost, potentially life long, for something we encouraged and even financially rewarded. I await this universal scheme, although am not holding my breath.