The recent ATAGI recommendations on the AstraZeneca vaccine have raised questions around the liability, indemnity and insurance arrangements of health services and other service providers involved in the COVID-19 vaccination program.
From 21 April 2021 eligible people aged under 50 will be able to provide their informed consent to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at Victoria’s vaccination centres. To administer AstraZeneca to people aged under 50 the Department of Health (DH) encourages health services and other service providers to take steps in respect of the recent ATAGI recommendations. These steps include ensuring that anyone involved in the COVID -19 vaccination program (and in particular, anyone who is advising on and administering the AstraZeneca vaccine):
- is informed of the recent ATAGI recommendations.
- is kept informed as further information is provided to health services and other service providers by the Australian Government, the Australian Government Department of Health and the Victorian Department of Health.
- is informed of the requirement to complete a new supplementary training package for the AstraZeneca vaccine (developed and delivered by DH). Health services and service providers are strongly encouraged to prepare for the rollout of this new training package, including requirements to verify completion and keep up to date records.
- have access to the most up-to-date resources, including consent forms and fact sheets. For example, the updated consent form and other Australian Government factsheets can be found in the collection of resources for vaccine providers.
- Health services and service providers should ensure that there is a process for the removal and destruction of superseded documents and information, as appropriate.
- contact the health service or other service provider and their relevant peak bodies (for example, the AMA, RACGP, ANMF) and insurers for further, specific advice on liability, indemnity and insurance. There have been several public statements by the Australian Government and peak industry bodies and many medical indemnity insurers/medical defence organisations have updated their websites to provide further information and guidance.
DH also recommends that health services, service providers and individuals seek their own, independent legal advice on the liability, indemnity and insurance implications of the recent ATAGI recommendations.