THE Government’s compensation scheme for rare cases of vaccine damage is hard to navigate and it should be made easier for the injured to make a claim, says TV doctor Hilary Jones.
‘There needs to be a clear system,’ the Good Morning Britain medical expert said. ‘It has got to be easier for patients to know where to take their concerns. I would not know which government body to ask. I would have to investigate, which means it’s not easy to find the information.
‘Vaccination compensation is something that has been neglected. Doctors close ranks, notes go missing and it takes years and years to fight a case.
‘The compensation scheme should assist those damaged promptly. I agree with vaccination, and also with vaccination damage compensation where it’s due.’
The current scheme requires the injured to prove they are 60 per cent damaged before they can claim, and the maximum compensation is £120,000. It often takes more than a decade for claims to be agreed and even then, patients may still have to wait for their money.
After the 2009 swine flu pandemic and subsequent emergency vaccination, 60 claims for narcolepsy and cataplexy, caused by GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix vaccine, were agreed by the Government, which had indemnified the drug company.
Narcolepsy, which disrupts sleep patterns, and cataplexy – loss of voluntary muscle control – are incurable neurological conditions needing extensive medication and 24-hour care.
Sixty claimants – 54 children and six health care workers – were due to receive around £1million each, but by 2014 were still waiting for their money. Last year, some claimants were given 28 days to accept 50 per cent of the agreed settlement and where costs had been awarded, the Government was appealing against them.
Dr Jones’s compensation comments echo that of Sir Christopher Chope, Conservative MP for Christchurch, who last month gave the second reading of the Covid-19 Vaccine Damage Bill in the House of Commons.
Sir Christopher thinks the current system is nothing but a ‘gesture,’ and said that none of the hundreds of applications for compensation had been dealt with. He added that there is a team of only four administrators in the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme department dealing with claims.
He told the House: ‘The Government should not be playing hard-to-get in relation to the compensation scheme for those who suffer adverse consequences as a result of having done the right thing. Our hospitals have a large number of in-patients who are there only because they took the vaccine.’
Up to June 23, 154 applications had been received, but no recent figures are available. ‘Obviously, there are many, many more now,’ he added.
Dr Jones has a regular slot on Good Morning Britain, ITV1’s breakfast showhosted by Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley. He also makes guest appearances on Lorraine, the show following Good Morning Britain, hosted by Lorraine Kelly, and has been dispensing advice to the nation for more than 30 years.
He has discussed Covid vaccines at length, encouraging people to have them and saying that they are safe. And he has discussed the rare, sometimes serious, damage they can cause.
These include potentially fatal blood clots and low blood platelets caused by vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (VITT), associated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, or myocarditis reported in young men who have had the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine.
At an event he recently hosted, Dr Jones said: ‘People need informed consent, to know exactly what can go wrong as well as how much protection the vaccine can give.
‘I hope people understand that I don’t make the policies. I’m just an average GP giving what I hope is impartial advice and trying to give facts based on science.’
So far, 49.1million people have received 94.1million doses of Covid vaccines. Up to October 6, The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the UK’s drugs watchdog, had received 1,719 reports of fatalities attributed to three Covid vaccines – the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.
Official figures from the MHRA’s Yellow Card Scheme show that one in 188 people have reported an adverse reaction to Pfizer, one in 106 to AstraZeneca and one in 90 to Moderna. In total, more than 1.2million reactions have been reported by 350,000 people.
MHRA Chief Executive Dr June Raine said: ‘Public safety is always at the forefront of our minds, and we take every report seriously.
‘Vaccination benefits continue to outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people. The public should be reassured of our continuing high standards when monitoring these vaccines for safety, quality and effectiveness.’
One example of the human anguish behind the figures is the experience of Mark Tomlin. The 57-year-old metal worker made a claim to the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme after the death of his 47-year-old fiancée Lucy Taberer.
Ms Taberer, a mother of three and a playgroup leader, died of VITT 22 days after receiving her first AstraZeneca jab in March. The desperate mission to save her is documented in more than 200 pages of medical notes made by doctors at Leicester Royal Infirmary before she was transferred to intensive care at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham.
Doctors there operated to remove a blood clot from Ms Taberer’s brain, but the damage was too great and her life support was turned off.
After her death, no health professional told Mark, or his 33-year-daughter Leanne Tomlin, that there was a compensation scheme. They found out by chance after talking to a journalist.
They submitted a claim in June, and although Ms Taberer’s death certificate, dated April 15, 2021, states the cause of death as ‘cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and vaccine associated thrombosis with thrombocytopenia’, the severe blood clotting adverse reaction admitted by the MHRA, the family will need to wait until an inquest has been heard.
It was opened on April 21, 2021, and adjourned until early 2022. This delay is precisely what Dr Jones and Sir Christopher want to avoid.
Sir Christopher told the Commons on September 10: ‘It is suggested that people should be left hanging around for years wondering whether they will be eligible for any compensation. That is totally the wrong message.
‘The Government should be sending the message that, “If you do the right thing, you will be looked after by the Government if something goes wrong.”
‘That is what we do with the military. People enter the armed forces and, if something goes wrong, they expect the Government to look after them, and we do. We should be doing exactly the same for those who have suffered vaccine damage.’
Mr Tomlin, now a single parent no longer working full time as he is looking after their six-year-old son Orson, said: ‘No amount of money in the world can compensate for losing Lucy. She was my soulmate, and I will miss her every day for the rest of my life.’