The number of claims for the UK’s vaccine injury scheme is expected to be 18 times higher next year, according to a government-backed health body.
The Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) is a one-off tax-free payment of £120,000 ($160,000) if someone is proved to have been severely disabled as a result of vaccination from diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), swine flu, and more.
In December 2020, ministers agreed to add COVID-19 to the scheme, to demonstrate “government confidence in the safety profile” of any vaccine being used in the vaccination programme.
In the UK, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccines currently approved for use are the Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. All three have legal indemnity protecting companies from being sued for damages.
Historically, the average number of annual assessments for the scheme has been 100. It is now estimated that there will be 1,500 to 1,800 claims, according to the tender document. There are currently around 500 cases and, according to the National Health Service Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), that number is increasing by 20 per week.
According to the UK Coronavirus Dashboard, 110,206,709 vaccine doses have been administered in the country as of Nov. 17.
“As new vaccinations are added, this is likely to increase the amount of claims made against the scheme. The estimated volume of claims has been calculated as a worst-case scenario projection on the basis of the new vaccinations being added to the scheme,” a government spokesperson told The Epoch Times.
The NHSBSA is an arm’s length body of the Department of Health and Social Care. It manages over £35 billion ($47 billion) of NHS spend annually, delivering a range of services to NHS organisations, contractors, patients, and the public. It added the VDPS to its portfolio of work from Nov. 1, 2021.
Any existing claims have been automatically transferred over to the NHSBSA from the Department for Work and Pensions.
A vial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca is checked as they arrive at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, England, on Jan. 2, 2021. (Gareth Fuller/Pool via AP)
“VDPS aims to provide financial support to individuals where, on very rare occasions, vaccination has caused severe disablement. It is not a compensation scheme, as it does not preclude an individual from seeking damages through legal routes,” said the government spokesperson.
The government did not say how many claims for vaccine damage payments after a COVID-19 vaccination have been paid out.
“These are very new vaccines and the possible links between the vaccine and potential side effects are still being investigated. This means it will take longer before we can determine whether an individual’s claim meets the first legal test of causation,” said the spokesperson.
The system has been criticised as being slow and that it needs to be made easier to access. Affected families are often left with little support. The BBC reported in July that the government had received 145 claims for vaccine damage payments after a COVID-19 vaccination, but no payments had been made.
Duncan Fairgrieve, professor of comparative law at Paris Dauphine University in France, told The Epoch Times that the “problems with the current VDPS are well-known” and argued that a bespoke scheme should be set up for compensating adverse events from the COVID-19 vaccines.
Fairgrieve explained that the £120,000 was “far too little to provide proper financial support for families who have suffered the death of a main wage-earner; and/or the impairment of a loved one who requires ongoing care and support.”
The VDPS also requires that all eligible applicants in the UK must meet a 60 percent disablement criteria. This is a concept of “percentage disablement” derived from the Industrial Injuries and War Pension schemes dating from before World War II.
“This criterion is antiquated, counterproductive, and unfair,” Fairgrieve said.
“Many applicants will have significant injuries and may be disabled up to 59 percent and yet, on the basis of the current scheme, they will have no access to funds via the VDPS.”
He added that other countries including France, Germany, the United States, and Nordic countries like Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark provide more substantive funds to those who suffer vaccine injury.