The Australian Government have now established a scheme designed to compensate people who suffer specific injuries or medical conditions as a direct result of receiving the COVID vaccine.

Who is eligible?

In order to receive any compensation from the scheme, a person must prove:

  1. They received a COVID vaccination as approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
  2. They meet the definition of "harm" as set out by the policy (as detailed further below).
  3. They were admitted to hospital (exemptions from this category can apply).
  4. They have suffered losses of at least $1,000 due to the injury or condition.

What "harm" is required?

If you had the AstraZeneca vaccine, the following clinical conditions are accepted under the scheme:

  • Anaphylactic reaction
  • Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome
  • Capillary leak syndrome
  • Demyelinating disorders including Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS)
  • Thrombocytopenia, including immune Thrombocytopenia.

If you've had Pfizer (Biontech Comirnaty) or Moderna vaccines, the following clinical conditions are accepted under the scheme:

  • Anaphylactic reaction
  • Myocarditis
  • Pericarditis.

Furthermore, if you suffered a shoulder injury due to the administration of the vaccine, or any other injury directly related to the vaccine being administered (i.e. injected), then you may meet the relevant criteria.

You cannot claim compensation under this scheme for any other conditions arising from the vaccination, such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, fever, psychological injuries or the like. A full list of those conditions or symptoms not compensable under the scheme is available on the Services Australia website.

What compensation can be claimed?

There are a number of categories of compensation available under the scheme, including:

  1. Lost earnings, due to time taken away from work due to those above-listed prescribed illnesses.
  2. Out-of-pocket expenses in relation to any treatment required as a result of suffering the relevant illness or condition.
  3. Any costs in relation to "carer support" for the assistance needed during the time of injury or illness ("attendant care services"). This can be claimed in relation to services you have paid for (i.e. paid assistance) and also gratuitous assistance rendered by family and friends (i.e. unpaid assistance).
  4. Any costs for future needs in performing domestic tasks.
  5. Pain and suffering.

Further benefits are available to the family or relevant legal personal representative of a person who dies as a result of the vaccine-related illness or condition.

How to claim

Under the scheme, there are different processes for making claims based upon the amounts being claimed. The claims are essentially placed into two (2) categories:

  1. For claims under $20,000 evidence is required from your treating doctor as to your diagnosis and the claim being lodged.
  2. For claims exceeding $20,000, a more stringent process exists and "legal experts" working for Services Australia will investigate claims before making a decision as to whether a claim should be accepted and, if so, the level of compensation which should be paid.

If you have suffered an injury due to receiving a COVID vaccination, you should seek legal advice. At Kells, we provide our services on a no win, no fee basis and your first consultation is free.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.