Australia's new no-fault COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme will be applied retrospectively and, according to business groups, better facilitate workplace vaccination programs, reduce business risks and accelerate the reopening of the economy.
The Commonwealth-funded scheme will provide compensation to people who incur injury costs exceeding $5,000 as a result of a proven adverse reaction to a Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved COVID-19 vaccine.
It will commence operation in September 2021, but apply retrospectively from February 2021.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the development, saying serious and life-threatening side effects from COVID vaccines are "very rare, but it is important that we provide a safety net to support those affected".
He also said 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".
Major employers and business groups pushed for such protections at a July roundtable meeting with the Government.
Minister Hunt explained that people who suffer injuries and loss of income because of a COVID vaccine will be able to register their intent to claim compensation on the scheme's webpage.
Claims will be assessed by "independent experts", while the TGA will provide guidance on recognised adverse reactions to vaccines, he said.
The scheme will be administered by Services Australia, providing a quick and simple administrative process for recovering compensation and avoiding the need for complex and costly court processes, Hunt said.
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