Closed 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.
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.
This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months
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
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): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7_2B4d48PU
You can also read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it has finished: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-09-20
Find out more about how Westminster Hall debates work:
Vaccine Damage Payments Act discussed by MPs
MPs discussed the effectiveness of the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 on Wednesday 2 March in the main House of Commons chamber. The debate was an adjournment debate and was led by Sir Christopher Chope MP.
Watch the debate back: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/a3823a26-dfc4-4e74-9be3-eede29b0834d?in=19:01:07
Read a transcript of the debate: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-03-02/debates/CBFF32D7-C7DB-4225-843C-3BF8FAB1DDED/VaccineDamagePaymentsAct1979
What is an adjournment debate?
Adjournment debates are half-hour debates at the end of each day's sitting. They are an opportunity for an individual backbench MP to raise an issue and receive a response from the relevant Minister, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.
Find out more about how adjournment debates work:
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MPs debate Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme
MPs debated covid-19 vaccines and the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme on Tuesday 6 September in Westminster Hall.
The debate was led by Sir Jeremy Wright MP. Maggie Throup MP, who was serving as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Vaccines and Public Health) at the time of the debate, responded for the Government.
What is a Westminster Hall debate?
Westminster Hall is the second chamber of the House of Commons. Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local and national issues and receive a response from a government minister. Westminster Hall debates are general debates that do not end in a vote.
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