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Oxford researchers ‘struggling’ to get details on vaccine damages

Compensation schemes for Covid jabs disablement so obscure even “Oxford University’s heft” provides little help

An Oxford researcher has said her team “struggled” to get clear information on Covid-19 vaccine-damage schemes for people whose health has been adversely affected by the jab.

Despite the increase in the number of national vaccine-damage payment schemes in the wake of the pandemic, from fewer than 40 to about 140 worldwide, civil justice researcher Sonia Macleod said it was difficult to find information on such schemes in many countries.

She said: “We are professional researchers with Oxford University’s heft behind us—if we are struggling to find out what is out there, how on earth is somebody who has been affected in a country that has not got clear information expected to know they have got the right to make a claim?”

While Covid-19 jabs have generally proven to be safe and effective, extremely rare side effects may occur, as with most medicines and vaccines. While Covid-vaccination damage schemes vary in scope from country to country, they usually provide some form of payment to people who have been affected or the families of those who have died as a result of the jab.

But Macleod warned that the lack of clear information on the schemes meant they were not useful to the individuals they sought to help.

“A scheme that is intended to provide redress to patients if something goes wrong is [of] no use to those patients if they are not aware of it,” she said. 

“It is an essential requirement that there is information out there about these schemes.”

Macleod added that if the schemes are not known about, and therefore go unused, they become “redundant” and “might as well not be there”.

She told Research Professional News that the lack of available information was partly why she decided to lead a research project to map schemes offering payments to people who had been left injured or the families of those who died as a result of a Covid-19 vaccine.

It was also why her team decided to create a website to publish their study, as they felt the information should be publicly accessible and free to access.

Although her research team did not systematically explore the public’s knowledge of the UK’s scheme, Macleod said that it anecdotally seemed not that well known.

The UK government introduced its own scheme by expanding the Vaccine Damage Payments Act of 1979 to cover Covid-19 vaccines. Data released in April by the NHS Business Services Authority revealed that 78 out of 4,914 claimants had been awarded a £120,000 payment and that the government had paid out more than £9 million in total. 

The medical conditions of the 78 claimants awarded a vaccine-damage payment were:

  • Vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis/cerebral venous sinus thrombosis – 38
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome – 19
  • Other – 21