National Cabinet adopts AMA proposal for vaccine indemnity
After consistent AMA advocacy for the introduction of a no-fault indemnity scheme for GPs and vaccine providers, the AMA welcomes the introduction of these measures by National Cabinet, which will give GPs more confidence providing vaccines, and peace of mind to patients.
This and other decisions recently made by National Cabinet, including mandatory vaccination for quarantine and aged care health workers and a day-16 COVID test, will help to combat the threat of COVID-19.
AMA president, Dr Omar Khorshid said the new indemnity scheme gives patients and doctors alike yet another reason to continue to support the COVID-19 vaccine roll out.
“We first proposed such a scheme in January and have worked closely with Government to get the insurance scheme introduced,” Dr Khorshid said.
Dr Khorshid highlighted that for such a scheme to be effective and fair, it needed to cover all vaccines, administered to all age groups and be applied retrospectively, so the AMA is pleased the government has taken this on board. In the very rare circumstances where patients believe they have been injured by a vaccine, they can access support or compensation if required without the need to include their doctor or nurse in legal action.
“We will now work with government to extend the Medicare support for COVID-19 vaccine consultations to Australians under the age of 50, in order to support GPs to provide information to patients around the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines and assist patients in making an informed decision, as announced by the Prime Minister,” Dr Khorshid said.
Dr Khorshid said the decision to mandate vaccination for aged care health workers was a positive move, and was again something the AMA had called on governments to consider.
“The initial focus on the aged care residents was a reasonable decision at the time, but the low rate of vaccination of aged care workers is unacceptable and we need to redouble our efforts to get them fully vaccinated as soon as possible,” Dr Khorshid said.
“We also welcome sensible changes to quarantine arrangements. The day 16 test for returned travellers, mandatory vaccination and testing for quarantine workers and separation of high and low risk travellers in quarantine are all logical steps and all overdue given the breaches of quarantine that are currently impacting the lives of almost every Australian.”
However, the AMA believes National Cabinet for months now has failed to agree on a nationally consistent approach to outbreaks and agreed triggers for lockdown, border closures and other social restrictions.
Dr Khorshid stressed that National Cabinet must recognise that an outbreak in one city or state puts the whole country at risk. An agreed approach would detail the appropriate triggers for lockdown, border closures and other social restrictions like limits on crowds at sporting events and help protect the whole country from COVID-19.