With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout well underway, employers may be hesitant to introduce voluntary vaccination programs because of the cost of compensating an employee who suffers a rare side effect.
However, this concern has been addressed, with the Australian Government introducing a no-fault ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme’ (Scheme) which will cover the cost of injuries above $5,000 for anyone who suffers an adverse reaction following vaccination.
The Scheme provides Australians with an alternative to litigation for seeking compensation for injuries suffered following vaccination.
The Scheme will apply to anyone who receives the vaccine from a Commonwealth Government approved program. This includes approved vaccination clinics, approved workplaces and the GP network.
The Scheme will cover the cost of injuries above $5,000 for anyone who suffers an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination. Services Australia will administer the Scheme, with each claim being assessed by independent experts and compensation paid based on this assessment.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration will soon publish guidance as to what constitutes an “adverse reaction” for the purposes of the Scheme.
The Scheme will commence on 6 September but will be backdated to February 2021.
Addisons’ employment law team can help employers understand their rights with respect to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and other employment-related issues relating to the pandemic.