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Petition Reform the VDPA 1979 to improve support for those harmed by covid-19 vaccines

Reform the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 so that it can provide more timely and substantive support for those harmed as a result of receiving a covid-19 vaccine. The current scheme is archaic and inadequate. The new scheme should be more accessible, visible and applicant friendly.

More details

The Pearson Commission found that those injured as a result of vaccination should have access to financial support. The VDPA was intended to provide that access, but fails: data suggests that less than 2% of applications in recent years have been successful, and there is a maximum payment of £120,000 and a threshold of 60% disablement. Reforming the VDPA will maintain vaccine confidence and provide urgent support for those injured/bereaved through covid-19 vaccination.

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Government responded

This response was given on 5 August 2021

The Government has a robust system to monitor potential side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine and has added the vaccine to the VDPS. We will consider further action as more evidence becomes available.

Read the response in full

The Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) was established in 1979 with the aim of easing the financial burden on those individuals where, on very rare occasions, vaccination has caused severe disablement. VDPS is not a compensation scheme, so it does not preclude an individual from seeking damages through the courts. It sits alongside other Government schemes to support anyone with a long-term health condition or a disability. These include Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit, ESA, Attendance Allowance and PIP.

COVID-19 was added to the scheme in December 2020, to provide reassurance of the safety of the vaccines being used in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, and to ensure those receiving the COVID-19 vaccine would receive the same support as for other Government-recommended vaccines, in the extremely unlikely event that they were to experience severe disablement as a result of their vaccination.

The MHRA Yellow Card reporting scheme provides a robust system for review, reporting and monitoring of any adverse incidents relating to COVID-19 vaccines. It enables healthcare professionals and the public, including patients, carers and parents, to report any suspected side effect following the administration of a vaccine, so the regulator can take action in response to concerns identified, if appropriate. Detailed information on this scheme and its data on the COVID-19 vaccine can be found here:

Whilst understanding the desire and need to move forward rapidly with processing these claims, it is important to have an established evidence base around causational links between the vaccine and potential side effects. Not doing so risks claims being declined in error based on a lack of evidence, disadvantaging applicants.

More widely, the Government is currently looking at how it can improve the operational aspects of the VDPS to better meet the additional demand created by the inclusion of the COVID-19 vaccine and improve the customer experience. Once more is known about the possible links between the vaccine and potential side effects, it will be considered whether a wider review of the VDPS is needed.

Department of Health and Social Care

At 100,000 signatures...

At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

Other parliamentary business

MPs to debate Covid-19 vaccination on Monday 20 September

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs that oversees the parliamentary petitions) has scheduled a debate on covid-19 vaccination, following two petitions on this subject that have received over 100,000 signatures.

The debate will take place in Westminster Hall, the second chamber of the House of Commons, on Monday 20 September and will last up to 90 minutes. It will be led by a Member of the Petitions Committee, and the Government will send a Minister to respond.

Watch the debate (from 6pm, Mon 20 Sept):

You can also read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it has finished:

Find out more about how Westminster Hall debates work:

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