Taxpayers are facing a hefty bill for rare but significant coronavirus vaccine injuries, with at least 10,000 people planning to claim under the federal government’s no-fault indemnity scheme.
Services Australia is building an online portal, to be launched next month, for uncapped claims above $5000 from those who suffered injury and loss of income due to their COVID-19 vaccine, with compensation for medical costs and lost wages to be paid by the government.
Shine Lawyers head of medical negligence Clare Eves said the amount of the claims “could be really significant” for people who experienced rare but serious adverse vaccine reactions, such as stroke and inflammation of the heart.
“Adverse events, even though they happen to a tiny proportion of people, for the people it does impact it’s really quite devastating,” Ms Eves said.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration recorded 78,880 adverse events linked to COVID-19 vaccination, representing a small minority (0.21 per cent) of the 37.8 million doses administered to 18.4 million people, by November 7. The vast majority of those 78,000 adverse events were mild side effects, including headache, nausea and sore arms.
More than 10,000 people have registered their interest to make a claim since registration opened on the federal health department’s website in September, official data shows, meaning it would cost at least $50 million if each claim is approved.
Ms Eves said significant brain or cardiac injury could result in a claim in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.