THIS is the second part of an edited version of the representation to Baroness Heather Hallett by barrister Anna Morris KC last Wednesday on behalf of those injured by Covid vaccinations – UK CV Family, the largest advocacy group, the Scottish Vaccine Injury Group (ScottishVIG), and the Vaccine Injured and Bereaved (VIBUK). The full transcript can be found at the official Covid Inquiry website and begins at page 85 here. Part 1, in which she laid bare the truth that so many have tried to suppress – including suicide, disability and death caused by serious adverse reactions to Covid vaccinations, can be read here. This second section focuses on the total inadequacy of the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme, which insists on 60 per cent disability to qualify for the all-or-nothing payment of £120,000 and is there to block as many payments as possible. Anna Morris pulls no punches as her speech continues:
Turning then to the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme. My Lady, you have stated in your provisional scope that you will examine whether any reforms are necessary. In short, they are, and what is required is both radical and urgent. It’s the clear view of those I represent, a large number of whom have made claims under the scheme, that it is no longer fit for purpose.
As of July this year, the scheme has received a total of 6,399 claims, of which 2,352 have been notified of an outcome. Over 500 of those claims have been waiting for more than 12 months, with 166 of them waiting for over 18 months to receive an outcome; 96 per cent of those claims have been refused.
Many have been turned down on causation, despite having evidence from multiple consultants that their injuries started following vaccination and despite receiving exemptions and despite having an adverse reaction recorded in their permanent medical records. Only 127 claimants have received an award, while 177 claims were unsuccessful solely because they did not meet the 60 per cent disablement criteria, even though causation was accepted.
This highlights, my Lady, the inherent shortcomings of the current all-or-nothing scheme, leaving those claimants without any award. By comparison, before the pandemic, in 2019 to 2020, out of 70 claims made, only one claim was rejected for failing to meet the disability criteria.
VIBUK have been campaigning for the government to reform the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme, in particular to improve the time it takes to assess and award claims, to remove the limited eligibility and criteria for causation and amend the one-size-fits-all award and payment, which should have no upper limit.
My Lady, we also ask that as part of your examination you review the care pathway provided to ensure appropriate medical and emotional support to the vaccine injured and bereaved, the lack of a trauma-informed approach to the claiming process from start to finish, and the qualifications and relevant experience of the medical assessors employed to analyse VDPS claims and appeals.
In respect of experts, my Lady, we ask for early conversations with the Inquiry legal team about those experts under consideration. Those we represent have a deep understanding of those with expertise in the issues that impact on them and can provide meaningful assistance to the Inquiry in this regard.
There was nothing identified, however, by Mr Wald (Richard Wald KC, Counsel to the Inquiry) this morning about experts who can provide the Inquiry with the expertise on the mechanism of adverse vaccine injury, for example haematologists, cardiologists, immunologists, just to name a few relevant specialisms. So we’d hope that dialogue can continue on that topic.
May I turn now to address the listening exercise. I’m grateful for the confirmation that the Inquiry wants to hear from those who suffered vaccine damage as a result of the vaccine roll-out. However, despite this stated aim, our clients note with concern that none of the key lines of inquiry seeks to research the injury and bereavement caused by the Covid-19 vaccine. In our submission, the Inquiry cannot simply ignore the reality of this lived experience for an unknown number of people, and the Inquiry should be targeting research and evidence that allows it to properly understand the number, the nature and the degree of these injuries in order to fully establish the facts surrounding them, which in turn can then inform your findings, my Lady, and any concrete recommendations for future health crises.
My final but important topic, then, my Lady, is how the Inquiry ensures effective participation for those we represent, and we are grateful for recognition by Counsel to the Inquiry that those we represent have relevant evidence to give, and we ask you, my Lady, to consider from the outset how you will hear from those we represent at the oral evidence hearings. They are the only individuals who can give first-hand evidence to you of their experience of vaccine injury, their experience of reporting the injury, and their experience of the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme.
Some of those we represent, my Lady, have gone to considerable effort to be here today, and I urge the Inquiry not to assume that because they are here and because they look well, that they are actually not struggling. They are all living and managing acute and chronic health conditions. Standing or even breathing is a struggle, and we ask the Inquiry and its staff to please bear this in mind. They will need facilities in the hearing centre to be available to them to stand, sit, lie and move in a way of their choosing to enable them to be able to properly follow the evidence and engage with your Inquiry. We are grateful for the welcome they have received this morning from your hearing staff.
This Inquiry is an historic opportunity to properly recognise and record their experiences away from the misinformation and political agendas, to build trust in our medical and public institutions, and for you to make clear and concrete recommendations that will have a significant impact on their lives and those of millions of others. Thank you, my Lady, those are my submissions.