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Byron Shire
May 7, 2021

A Vaccine Damages Payment Scheme is needed

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David Heilpern

This will be the year of the jab. And in from Byron Shire, that poses some interesting questions.

You only have to mention the word ‘Mullumbimby’ in passing and strangers will grab you by the arm and ask, ‘are you pro-vax or anti-vax?’

Such a divisive question, when the truth is that most of us are simply vax cautious – and why not? Even the most ardent advocates for vaccination are secretly, smugly, silently relieved that we have delayed our coronavirus jabs until after the great mass experiment on our guinea-pig cousins across the seas. Thank you, Donald and Boris. 

Adverse reactions

I’m more concerned about the compensation scheme in Australia for adverse reactions to vaccinations.

There are 25 countries that have such schemes – mostly government funded with clawback from the pharmaceutical industry.

None are perfect, but the key feature is that they do not require an applicant to prove fault or negligence by the manufacturer or the medical system – they just need to show that it is ‘more likely than not’ that the injury or illness was caused by the vaccine.

Germany started its scheme in 1961, and now a variety of schemes exist including in the UK, New Zealand, United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. Even China, Russia, Nepal, Vietnam, and Thailand have joined the party.

The benefits of course are primarily for those who suffer an adverse reaction.

On a lazy Sunday, look up the United States Court of Special Claims, which makes for riveting reading as to the scope and reasoning of the judges. Interestingly, there are no judgments accepting the link between vaccination and autism.

Nevertheless, this court has dealt with more than 20,000 claims since inception in the 1980s and has ordered more than $3 billion in compensation.

In the USA, a vaccine is the presumed cause of an adverse medical condition if the timing and diagnosis matches up with pre-published criteria listed in medically and judicially determined tables.

So, if a person develops chronic arthritis between seven and 42 days of receiving a rubella vaccination, and they didn’t have it before, then the court moves directly to determining the size of the award.

Nothing ‘totally safe’

However, the benefit I’m most excited about seeps down into the public debate.

No longer is there this absurd ritualistic dance that starts with one side saying vaccines are safe and the other saying that vaccines are dangerous.

There is a societal recognition that there is no such thing as totally safe, and that a percentage of the vaccinated will suffer serious adverse reactions that can have life-long implications.

Not only that, but those who do suffer as a result will be looked after financially by the state so that, as the argument goes, overall benefits from herd immunity occur as a result of compliance.

To use a strained comparison, as a coroner I saw cases where people genuinely died as a result of wearing a seatbelt.

However, many more lives are no doubt saved by wearing a seatbelt. Hence the law reflects this with penalties for those who fail to comply.

And it is really interesting to see how the compensation countries are dealing with COVID-19 vaccines.

In the United Kingdom, the government has included all COVID-19 vaccines in their Vaccine Damages Payment Scheme.

For severe reactions causing disability, a payment of up to £120,000 is available. In the USA there are two schemes, and both have been amended to include coronavirus vaccinations.

Compensation scheme needed

Australia, on the other hand, has never had a vaccine compensation program despite calls from the medical profession. Instead, the government has just recently granted immunity from civil or criminal liability to COVID-19 vaccine companies and providers, and left those who may have adverse reactions with no compensation scheme other than individual and realistically inaccessible and inequitable access to the courts. And that leads to silly statements about the vaccines being ‘safe’ and using carrots and sticks to encourage compliance.

It cements the vax, anti-vax dichotomy.

It would appear that the powers that be have not entertained the suggestion that the introduction of such a sensible scheme might even build confidence in the vaccination program and increase compliance.

I have even drafted a speech for Scotty From Marketing – ‘My fellow Australians, we are proud to announce Australia’s first vaccine compensation program, introduced as part the anti-pandemic measures’.

‘My government accepts that there will be some rare and serious adverse impacts from a mass vaccination program. These vaccines are new and rushed, so of course there are risks. But we have made the calculation that the benefits outweigh the costs.

‘That has been the evidence so far from the United Kingdom and United States. However, if you do suffer illness or injury as a result of the vaccine, we will look after you.

‘You won’t have to prove negligence or fault, any legal costs will be covered, and you will not be out of pocket.

‘We want to ensure saturation vaccination levels, and we accept that herd immunity will have a cost for some unfortunate individuals.

‘This will be a team effort, and like all great endeavours – the starting point is looking after the inevitable casualties’.

So, next time someone asks if you are pro or anti-vax, tell them you are pro-vaccine compensation. Like the doctors.


Author

Retired magistrate David Heilpern is the author of several law-related books, journal articles, and reported judgments. He was the youngest magistrate in Australia, when appointed in 1998.


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14 COMMENTS

  1. Well put David,
    However using the seat belt analogy may not hold up , do individuals sue seat belt manufacturers for saving their lives but sustaining injured shoulders for example?
    As far as benefits outweighing risks – the numbers will speak for themselves if we see deaths from covid decrease rapidly and only a very rare occasion of serious reaction to the vaccine. Your point is nonetheless valid – a compensation scheme would benefit by giving confidence in the process

  2. David: That is a worthy idea, but given how the pandemic has exposed our nation’s and states’ lack of preparedness for out-of-the-ordinary events, as well as the inability of our states to function in harmonious sync, is such a scheme likely to (a) get off the ground, and (b) be competently managed? My expectations are far lower than my hopes.

  3. Thank you for such a great article which I hope will open people’s hearts and minds to move from the old vax, anti-vax dichotomy.

  4. ” Interestingly, there are no judgements accepting the link between vaccination and autism.”
    Not interesting at all as the vaccine /autism link has been debunked over and over again. This is why there have been no judgements accepting this link. There is no link.

  5. Great article, could you follow up with advice on the implications of future coerced vaccination schemes and the legal system ie: if we are unable to travel if we haven’t been vaccinated or unable to get certain tax benefits without vaccination like was introduced with the family tax benefit in 2019. What will this mean for our future, particularly lower income people.

  6. We are to believe it’s okay to take a chance on vaccination provided the risks are less than the number of deaths from covid.
    Convincing ourselves to believe elastic data on covid deaths and then overlook that the damage will be to the young while deaths are to the frail.
    Sure thing boomers………….

    • Hey Richard, I don’t think it’s as simple as deaths from covid versus deaths from the vaccine. If there were 400,000 deaths in 12 months in the USA from the vaccine, the roll out would stop ASAP.
      And there is no suggestion or data that harm from vaccines will be to our young and vulnerable as opposed to the old and frail. So it seems that you’re happy to sacrifice the old to protect the young, but the young are the ones that don’t want to get vaccinated to protect everyone – sounds like a real first world problem; you have the the availability of a vaccine, a great health system, no civil war, limited poverty, clean air and water, etc., but nah, blame the boomers, lol.
      I totally agree that this Govt has f*cked up by not providing us with a vaccine damages payment scheme, and hopefully it would lead to higher vaccination rates.

      • Rob,

        I refer to the risks from vaccine, not deaths from vaccine. The Risks are long, frail boomers are not.
        And like case numbers based on discredited PCR testing the count of covid deaths is another international joke of fuzzy figures.

        Otherwise, if I also 100% believed it all, consumed my daily propaganda, rammed by fact checkers and myth busters, I would likely be agreeing with you………….get the jab.

        Re: “there is no suggestion or data that harm from vaccines” … that’s right, there can’t be, come back in ten years, but alas by then censorship will be be total.

  7. In America, Since the introduction of the 1986 Bill that removed ALL vaccine manufacturer liability for injury and deaths as a result from vaccines, a total $4.3 BILLION has been paid out to vaccine injured/deaths via the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System). It’s completely tax payer funded.

    The fact that our Prime Minister has prematurely already indemnified the Government and Manufacturers of ALL liability BEFORE the experimental Pfizer COVID vaccine has even hit out shores here in Australia, that hasn’t started being given out to the public YET. UM HELLO??? This should raise HUGE alarming concerns with everyone!!! The Government have not been transparent or honest about anything thus far and I truly pity those who go and line up and get jabbed with this toxic garbage.

    For those that DO NOT CONSENT, make your Will Mandates known, Take these concerns and voice them to your MP’s. Make them work for their money for a change. They work for The People, not the other way around…

  8. Can someone please explain why some Asian countries, Indonesia for one are vaccinating the younger generations 18-59 year olds only? I’ve heard it’s because they are the ones moving around the most and spread the virus, have stronger immune systems and are also the working generations that keep the economy going. Is this correct? Thank you.

  9. Well, I don’t think much of your “secretly, smugly, silently relieved that we have delayed our coronavirus jabs “. Maybe you’re projecting, maybe you’re speaking out your arse, but as a vaccine proponent I would have been happy to be an early adopter. And, just quietly, how dare you call me smug.

    And as for a “Vaccine Damages” scheme, we see in the USA and Canada that most of the business of vaccine damages schemes is fending off bogus claim of damages from “vaccine hesitant” fools, who somehow vaccinate their children while believing it’s harmful., in the hope of harvesting some of government funded compensation. Although billions may have been paid out, the corrupt business of plea deals means that cases are often judged easier to settle than defend, and justice and truth are irrelevant.

    Let the tiny minority who are genuinely injured by the vaccines sue the vaccine makers, and not allow these businesses to be propped up by the taxpayer dollar.

  10. Pandemic Really or is it a casedemic. Lot’s of tests equals lots of positives. Then the chase is on to lock down all those associated. A test that should never be used and is highly inaccurate. Even when positive it’s no indication of an active case. But it’s good for the numbers. and the press who like to spread fear. The Govt love it as we become easier to control and they have a vaccine mandate. In record time we have several suppliers who have undergone rigerouse compliance and we can all rest assured they are safe. So safe the Aust Govt have provided interim approval for Australians to be vaccinated. The people have been waiting and even demanding the vaccine be made available. The press told us.. Well. If we believe Dr. Klinghardt who works in the UK treating people with complications arising from what ever this is. A flu type virus . He has said that in some cases it’s very bad for the person they become very ill and some die. Around 6% world wide of those who end up with complications die. About the same number the annual Flu kills. Easy to administer treatments which have proven successful have and are being removed from public access. Further the vaccine companies are not yet disclosing everything which is in their vaccine. But we expect some of the same old constants. Aluminium, Mercury, latex, Glycol and in some bits and bobs from aborted babies and animals. Anyway so far and it’s early days .4% of those vaccinated die and more are injured. We do expect fertility rates to decline and a rise in Autoimmune diseases ongoing. Of course the rates are within expected guidelines and are not concerning the vaccine manufacturers. Why should they as Governments have given them immunity from prosecution. The CDC in America has now dropped the recording of vaccine injuries so numbers will be almost impossible to tabulate. But you and I will start noticing our friends dropping off their pearch as time passes. You might even be one. It’s just a matter of choice. Do I get the vaccine and hope I’m not one of the +4% or that I will suffer later on the hope that if I catch this thing it will stop me becoming really ill. Proving I keep up with the booster shots. As my naturally immune system will take a back seat. So far back it wont be effective. Or do I take my chances and pray I dont catch it and despite the white coats trust that a robust immune system built on a god diet with the correct minerals and vitamin intake it will pass me by or at worst put me in bed for a few days so my body can generate a strong natural T cell response. The choice is yours.

  11. So at what level of damages do the payments begin. Discomfort at the site of the injection or a serious adverse immune response. Such a scheme would be subject to the same rorting that other government support schemes do. Not to mention the legal time taken arguing whether someone’s coincidental illness/pain/feigned negative response/covid like response/or even lack of immune response is worth a payout. You have the vaccine and accept that you might be one of the 1 in a thousand million who have a serious adverse reaction and survive. And are protected from the virus. Or don’t have the vaccine. Life is a gamble.

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