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Australia Covid live update: Darwin out of lockdown; NSW records 31 new cases, Qld three, SA one; PM announces four-point pandemic plan

The Morrison government is establishing a Covid-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme to provide further assurance and confidence to patients and health professionals in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

The creation of a fit-for-purpose Covid-19 vaccine medical indemnity scheme will support increased vaccination uptake by assuring Australians that health professionals, including GPs, nurses and pharmacists administering Covid vaccines as part of the commonwealth vaccination program have appropriate indemnity coverage.

In the event someone suffers a significant adverse reaction, causing injury and economic loss because of vaccination, the Scheme will help guide potential claimants through a no fault claims process scheme.

Proven claims will be able to receive appropriate compensation without the need of formal court processes. Potential claimants accessing the scheme will still have the option of pursuing action through a court judgement if that is their preference.

The Covid-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme will be backdated to the start of the national vaccine rollout – 22 February 2021 – and will be linked to the Human Biosecurity Emergency Period under the Biosecurity Act 2015.

The scheme will support claims made against privately practising health professionals who administer a Covid-19 vaccine approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

This scheme responds to calls from peak bodies including the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and medical indemnity insurers, for extended medical indemnity coverage for health professionals and their patients given the unique nature of the pandemic and response.

Details of the Covid-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme will be finalised in consultation with peak bodies, indemnity insurers, patient groups and states and territories.

To further support the choice of people considering their vaccine options, from 29 June the government is extending two Medicare items that allow GPs and other medical practitioners to provide in-depth clinical assessments of a patient’s individual health risks and benefits. Already available for patients aged 50 years and over, these Medicare items will be available for all patients, regardless of age.

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