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Closed petition Reform the Vaccine Damage Payment with payments based on the scale of disability

To be eligible for vaccine injury compensation under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 a person has to be 60% disabled. This threshold is too high and leaves many victims without compensation. The Government must reform this scheme and adopt a new model based on a scale of damage and harm.

More details

Although the Covid-19 vaccine rollout was a historic success for our nation, it is now clear that a very small percentage of our population have suffered an adverse reaction to the Covid-19 vaccine.

As such, it would only be right that the compensation model allows those disabled as a result of a vaccine a pathway for proportionate, financial support. However, the VDPA 1979's threshold is too high and leaves many without compensation. A compensation scheme with payments based on an individual's disability must now be adopted.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 2 May 2023

The VDPS 60% level of disablement is consistent with the DWP’s Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. There is no evidence that this threshold provides an undue barrier to claimants.

Read the response in full

The Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) is a no-fault scheme that provides a one-off, tax-free payment of £120,000 to claimants who have been found, in rare cases and on the balance of probabilities, to have been seriously disabled by a vaccine for a disease listed in the Vaccine Damage Payment Act 1979. The VDPS is a one-off additional payment rather than a compensation scheme and does not preclude an individual’s right to pursue legal recourse for damages. There is also wider government support available for those that are disabled, including Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Attendance Allowance, and Personal Independence Payments.

To receive a payment from the VDPS, claimants must be assessed as 60% disabled or more, which is the threshold referenced in the petition. It was lowered from 80% to 60% in 2002. It remains aligned with the definition of ‘severe disablement’ as set out by DWP’s Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, a widely accepted test of disability. Disablement is assessed by UK registered doctors.

Very few Covid-19 claims have been rejected for not reaching the 60% disability threshold. Other unsuccessful cases were declined on the grounds of causation. Those who have been rejected can appeal and provide additional information to support their case if they have it.

We will continue to review the latest data as Covid cases continue to be processed, but at present evidence doesn’t support lowering the threshold.

Introduction of graduated payments based on disability would require both legislative change and renegotiation of clinical contracts to accommodate more complex medical assessments that account for different levels of disability. This would ultimately require processing of cases to be paused, delaying claimant outcomes.

The Government’s focus is on scaling up and improving the VDPS’s operations to ensure claimants receive outcomes as quickly as possible, rather than wider reforms such as changing the threshold, which risk further delays to processing claims.

Department of Health and Social Care

Vaccine Damage Payment Act debated by MPs

On Friday 24 March, MPs took part in an adjournment debate in Parliament on the Vaccine Damage Payment Act. The Act provides for payments to be made in cases where severe disablement occurs as a result of vaccination against certain diseases.

The debate was led by Chris Chope MP. Maria Caulfield MP, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, responded for the Government.

What are Adjournment debates?

Adjournment debates are general debates which do not end in a vote. They give a backbench MP the opportunity to raise an issue and receive a response from a government minister.

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