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Health Minister Roxon considers vaccine compensation

June 27, 2011 4:36PM

HEALTH Minister Nicola Roxon says the federal government is willing to consider a no-fault compensation scheme for people who are harmed by vaccines that are supposed to protect them.

Leading epidemiologists this month called for such a scheme in an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

They say people should be helped if they have “serious adverse events which can be confidently attributed to vaccination”.

“Any person who is injured while helping to protect the community … by contributing to herd immunity … should not bear the consequences of injury alone,” wrote Heath Kelly, Clare Looker and David Isaacs in the MJA.

“In essence, the community owes a debt of gratitude to that person.”

Ms Roxon said on Monday Labor was prepared to consider such a compensation scheme but it won’t be making promises any time soon.

“I’m happy to look at any advice and options that are put forward,” the health minister told reporters at Canberra Hospital.”

“It’s something that’s been talked about for decades.”

“It’s something that may well be able to be considered as our government works through a national disability insurance scheme.”

“But it’s not the sort of thing that we would make a commitment to in haste.”

Ms Roxon said only a “very, very small number of people” were harmed by broad vaccination which was otherwise a “great public good”.

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