Australia Starts Vaccine Injury Payouts

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Australians who experienced adverse reactions to Covid-19 vaccines have started receiving compensation, local media reported on Wednesday, though the number of people applying to the scheme is far lower than expected.

Figures from Australia’s Health Department show that less than 10% of the more than 10,000 people who registered their interest in the government scheme before December have submitted claims.

The no-fault indemnity scheme grants people a one-off payment ranging from AU$1,000 (US$720) to AU$20,000 (US$14,400) for lost wages or other expenses if they suffered bad reactions to Covid-19 vaccines. 

The conditions for application include having spent at least one night in hospital and having suffered at least AU$1,000 (US$720) in economic losses. 

Services Australia has received 861 applications – including death claims – as of February 9, a Health Department spokesman told One case has been paid but 11 have already been withdrawn, they added.

The authorities have requested further information from 225 claimants. A total of 849 “remain under consideration.”

“With the indemnity scheme having only been opened for a short period of time, information on eligible claims and payment amounts is still being assessed,” the spokesman said.

Shine Lawyers’ head of medical negligence, Clare Eves, said the number of claimants was “disappointing” and attributed some blame to the complex nature of the scheme’s application process.

The website the government had set up was “very complicated and very hard to navigate, particularly if you’re suffering an adverse health effect,” she said.

As of February 6, Australia’s medicines regulator had registered a total of 108,000 total reports of adverse reactions, most of which were minor, believed to be as a result of receiving a Covid-19 vaccine. Nearly 51.2 million total doses have been administered.

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