Australian employers now have greater certainty and confidence to manage COVID workplace vaccinations following the introduction of a national no-fault vaccine indemnity scheme, according to the Business Council of Australia (BCA).
The Australian Federal Government is developing a claims scheme to reimburse people who suffer a moderate to significant impact following an adverse reaction to an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
The scheme will provide compensation to people with injury costs exceeding $5,000 as a result of a proven adverse reaction to a Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved COVID-19 vaccine.
It is expected to commence early this month but will apply retrospectively from February 2021.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said that even though adverse reactions to the vaccine were “very rare” – it was important to provide a safety net to support those who were affected.
BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said businesses were determined to help protect the health of the community.
“One of the important roles we are playing is providing workplace vaccination programs to keep our teams safe,” she said.
“The federal government’s delivery of a national no-fault COVID-19 vaccine claim scheme will ensure Australians are protected while removing the legal uncertainty for employers of all sizes administering vaccinations.”
“The job of business is to help accelerate vaccine take up and assist with the government’s rollout. We thank Health Minister Greg Hunt for listening and acting on the concerns of the medical, healthcare, business and insurances sectors.’’
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry also welcomed the government’s move.
“We know that as vaccine supply grows, workplace vaccination programs will have an increasingly important role in the national rollout,” chief executive, Andrew McKellar said.
“Many employers had indicated that they are willing to assist and are actively considering workplace vaccination programs however, employers like clinicians raised ongoing concerns about indemnity arrangements to cover administration of COVID-19 vaccines.”
“Businesses are strongly committed to playing their part in promoting the vaccination rollout having indicated that they are willing to assist and are actively considering workplace vaccination programs.”
“Turning workplaces into vaccinations hubs will support reaching reopening thresholds, as well as assisting with the booster shot program in 2022.”
McKellar said the 80 per cent vaccination threshold agreed to by National Cabinet was an ambitious target, and that businesses needed all the available options to encourage people to get vaccinated.
“We urge all employers to renew their focus on building the momentum for voluntary take up. Providing information on vaccines, encouraging employees to discuss vaccination with their GP, and facilitating jabs in the workplace now that this scheme is in place.”
“The link between the vaccine injury and the worker’s employment is easier to establish where a worker is influenced by their employer’s requirement to get vaccinated or is subject to a NSW Government public health order,” icare says.
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