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Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme: The Battle for Compensation

Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme: The Battle for Compensation

By Rachel Schraer
Health journalist

4 hours ago

About Sharing

source of images, Vikki Spit

A group of 95 people who developed health problems or lost loved ones to rare side effects from the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine say they were disappointed with the ‘outdated’ government payment system.

A woman whose fiancé died after the hit was awarded £120,000 this week.

BBC News has since learned that two more people have been told they will be receiving payments.

But many more are still waiting for their cases to be assessed, although some have final death certificates, meaning senior doctors and lawyers have concluded the vaccine caused the death of their loved one.

By May, more than 1,300 claims had been filed with the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS), but only 20 had been submitted for medical assessment.

Meanwhile, some fear their real but rare cases are being drowned out by a flurry of people making unproven claims about vaccine harm online.

Has caused harm

Vikki Spit, from Cumbria, has become the first person to receive money, following the death of her fiancé Zion, who developed vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VTT) eight days after receiving the vaccine.

VITT causes a very unusual combination of blood clotting and the inability to stop excessive bleeding, which in an even smaller number of cases can be fatal.

Approximately one such reaction has been reported for every 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca (AZ) administered.

The risk of a healthy but unvaccinated 40-year-old man dying if he catches Covid is about 100 times higher.

But while there is no doubt that the vaccines have saved lives at the population level, affected families are frustrated as they feel the small minority who have been harmed by the AZ vaccine are being ignored.

Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme: The Battle for Compensationsource of images, Vikki Spit

The pair played together in glam punk band Spit Like This

An interim death certificate last summer suggested the vaccine had caused Zion’s death, Ms Spit says, but it took the government another year to accept payment.

And meanwhile, some of those waiting have lost their ability to work or their main household breadwinner or had to pay for funerals or home adaptations.

Charlotte Wright, whose NHS clinical psychologist husband Dr Stephen Wright was one of the first to have this kind of reaction to the vaccine, says she has been using food banks since his death.

Even the maximum payout of £120,000, which is not guaranteed, would be “nothing compared to what we have lost” in income, she says.

“Increase Confidence”

Although even uncontested medical compensation claims typically take up to two years – and much longer in complex claims – other countries, such as Norway, compensated the first people injured after vaccination in July 2021.

Rare but severe reactions “should have been anticipated” and planned for so the program could respond “as quickly as necessary”, said Sarah Moore, an attorney advising affected families.

Payment levels have not been reviewed since 2010, she says, with the scheme essentially unchanged for decades – despite a group of cross-party MPs warning in 2015 that the legislation was “now outdated and in need of reform”.

Far from increasing hesitation, Ms Moore says, a faster and more generous program could increase confidence in the vaccine, reassuring people that they will be taken care of in the unlikely event that they have a bad reaction.

“Totally inappropriate”

“I spent 20 years trying to make this legislation work – and I can tell you it doesn’t work,” said Peter Todd, a lawyer who specializes in vaccine injury cases.

Claimants must prove they are at least 60% disabled, he says, a rule borrowed from older workers’ compensation schemes such as crush injuries in mining.

But this is very difficult to apply to an autoimmune reaction that might not have resulted in the loss of a limb, but would have caused intense fatigue, pain and brain fog.

“It’s really totally inappropriate for what it’s used for now,” says Todd.

A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) official said it was working “to improve the VDPS, to make the process simpler, faster and more accessible for applicants…with clearer communication and more regularly on the progress of their request”.

But the plan was “not designed to cover all expenses associated with severe disability” and claimants may also have to access existing government support systems such as Universal Credit.

Claire Hibbs was unable to work for a year after developing VITT, suffers from chronic fatigue, migraines and brain fog and fears her job is at risk – but thinks she won’t be considered disabled at 60 %.

Like others in the group, she was upset by suggestions that she might oppose vaccines – “it’s a pro-vaccination campaign,” Ms Moore said.

But Ms Hibbs acknowledges that false claims about harm from Covid vaccines have been widely circulated online – and research suggests such claims can increase vaccine hesitancy and put people’s lives at risk.

Members of the Vaccine, Injured, Bereaved UK (VIB UK) group have all received official confirmation of a link to the vaccine.

But underneath many of his factual posts, other accounts are sharing reams of false and misleading vaccine claims.

Ms Spit says she also received a deluge of anti-vax links.

“I don’t want to be associated with this,” she told BBC News.

Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme: The Battle for Compensationsource of images, Claire Hibs

Claire loved mountaineering and high adrenaline sports

Ms Hibbs is also concerned about online groups where people claim to have suffered a vaccine injury despite not being diagnosed, even asking for money.

And those who spread false or unproven claims make it harder to recognize genuine cases, she thinks.

“Every disease that everyone overcame in the last year, all of a sudden, it’s vaccine-related,” says Hibbs.

“And I think a lot of people need to understand that millions of people every year are diagnosed with disease. »

“It doesn’t help us. »

The article Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme: The Battle for Compensation appeared first on zimo news.

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