If you have been injured by a COVID-19 vaccine, you should make a claim against the Vaccine Injury No-Fault Compensation Scheme by 4 May 2022.
The COVID-19 No-Fault Compensation Scheme was created in terms of regulations passed under the Disaster Management Act in April 2021. These regulations noted that directions would be passed by the Minister of Health dealing with the administration of the scheme, including issues such as how to make a claim, how claims would be assessed etc.
The Minister of Health did not publish these directions until nearly a year later, on 4 April 2022, the date on which the state of disaster ended. It is therefore hardly surprising that few people have made claims against the scheme, which has been operational for less than a month. Anyone who has tried to make a claim will also have experienced confusion surrounding the applicable regulations, the way to make a claim and the general lack of information surrounding the scheme.
Amongst other things, the directions require that any vaccine injury must be reported to the scheme within 30 days of the onset of the injury. Of course, anyone injured before 4 April could not possibly have complied with the direction because it did not exist. The only reasonable interpretation of the direction is therefore that all injuries to date must be reported by 4 May 2022.
That this 30-day rule is unreasonable goes without saying and no doubt the rule will be overturned by the courts when it is taken on review. In the interim though, we recommend that anyone who has suffered a serious adverse event try to report it to the scheme.
This is supposed to be possible using the SAHPRA “MedSafety” mobile application although PANDA understands that the app has not been working for those who have been trying to submit claims. It is also supposed to be possible to report an injury via a form (the “Case Report Form for Adverse Events Following Immunisation”) that is supposed to be available at health facilities. However, this form appears not to be widely available and it is unclear where the form should be sent.
There is also the possibility of reporting the injury through the COVID-19 hot line – 0800 029 999. This is perhaps the best option as you should at least be able to speak to a person.
PANDA suggests that you also send an email to [email protected] indicating all that you have done or tried to do to report the injury or death.