Government rejects calls to set up an injury compensation scheme for “inevitable” Covid-19 vaccine injuries
The Scott Morrison Government has just granted indemnity to the two Australian suppliers of the Covid-19 vaccine, The Oxford Vaccine sponsored by AstraZeneca and University of Queensland vaccine marketed by Seqirus (CSL). This means they cannot be held liable for adverse effects caused by the vaccines, which experts say “are inevitable” when a new vaccine is rolled out, as explained in this Sydney Morning Herald piece.
In our previous article we questioned the safety and effectiveness of these rushed-to-market vaccines, with a severe adverse reaction causing a world-wide halt to the testing of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine bound for our shores. We also addressed the Prime Ministers claim to make the Covid-19 Vaccine as “mandatory as possible”.
The Morrison Government has rejected calls to set up a no-fault vaccine injury compensation scheme, which allows people who experience an adverse reaction to access compensation without having to convince a court that the vaccine was the cause of their injury.
In the US, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Program (NCVIP) has paid out over $4 billion dollars and counting. Over the vaccine court’s 30-year history, individuals and families have filed over 20,000 petitions for vaccine injury compensation. This amount was awarded in response to barely a third (31% or 6,276) of the filed petitions. There is no telling how much more money the taxpayer-funded program might have shelled out if the court had not chosen to dismiss the remaining petitions (56%). You can review the most current data report here, updated 1 October 2020.
The no-fault schemes operate in Canada, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Nepal and Thailand.
Let’s take a look at where and why these schemes originated. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) went into effect in 1988 stipulated that vaccine manufacturers cannot be held liable for injuries or deaths that occur from use of their vaccines which are recommended for every child in America by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It was signed in by Ronald Raegan in 1986 after intense lobbying by vaccine manufacturers pressured Congress for protection from vaccine injury lawsuits.
This launched what the Act described as an “alternative remedy to judicial action for specified vaccine-related injuries.” A key component of the legislation involved creating the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), which was given responsibility for deciding (through the workings of a special “vaccine court”) whether specific injuries and individuals would be eligible for financial compensation.
Interestingly, it’s claimed that the CDC and its members hold more than 50 patents relating to vaccines. But we will investigate this further in another article.
Grattan Institute health economist Stephen Duckett, a former secretary of the federal health department, agreed that such a scheme was needed in Australia, saying there would "inevitably" be some adverse events associated with the vaccines and that some may take years to appear.
In the budget handed down just a few days ago, under key Covid-related assumptions, it states “a population-wide Australian Covid-19 vaccination program is assumed to be fully in place by late 2021, with social distancing restrictions continuing until a vaccine is fully available”. In the Prime Minister’s media release dated 7 September 2020 it claims there will be 3.8 million doses available in January and February 2021.
Plans to distribute the vaccine quickly across the population once successful phase three trials are complete, means the full safety picture will not be known when the first doses are administered.
The president of the Australian Medical Association, Omar Khorshid, has said Australians who suffered "extremely rare" side effects from the vaccines would face a tough battle to seek compensation.
Where there is risk, there needs to be choice. For those that choose to take this rushed-to-market vaccine, there should be an injury compensation program. Would you agree?
Our articles and rebuttal pieces are written by our writers on our volunteer team