Federal COVID compo scheme unveiled

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Australians who suffer a serious side effect from a coronavirus jab will have "front door" access to compensation from the federal government.

Health professionals who administer doses will also be afforded legal protection under the newly-announced COVID-19 Vaccine Claim Scheme.

Health Minister Greg Hunt says the no fault scheme will provide "a simple and quick administrative process for compensation".

"Side effects, or adverse events, from COVID-19 vaccinations can occur but most are mild and last no longer than a couple of days," he said on Saturday.

"Serious and life-threatening side effects are very rare but it is important that we provide a safety net to support those affected."

Mr Hunt said the scheme would be administered by Services Australia, with Australians who suffer injury and loss of income due to a COVID-19 shot able to register their intent to claim from September 6.

It will cover the costs of injuries above $5000 due to a proven adverse reaction.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Australian Retail Association, among others, welcomed the indemnity provisions.

RACG President Karen Price said the scheme was primarily to save patients having to go through complicated legal processes to seek compensation in the event of very rare side effects.

However GPs were "the backbone of the vaccine rollout, delivering well over half of all vaccinations across Australia", Dr Price said.

"It also provides peace of mind and protection for GPs working hard on the frontline of the vaccine rollout."

Meanwhile, children aged 12 to 15 have been given the green light to be COVID vaccinated, with the national rollout ticking over the milestone of having one-third of adults fully jabbed.

The ACT leads the way with 41 per cent of the national capital's over-16s fully vaccinated, with Western Australia trailing the pack on 30.4 per cent as of Saturday.

After a shaky start, the national program has exceeded 18.7 million doses, with almost 62 per cent of over-70s, almost 50 per cent of over-50s and 33.71 per cent of all those over 16 fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, vaccine bookings for children aged 12 to 15 will open from September 13, following approval by the national expert immunisation panel.

The GP network will be the mainstay of the child vaccination program, something Prime Minister Scott Morrison says will provide the opportunity for family vaccinations.

States and territories will be left to decide on whether to run school-based programs.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says more children are being infected in this year's outbreaks partly due to higher adult vaccination rates but "the disease in children is much less severe than it is in adults."

Education Minister Alan Tudge said having all secondary children included in the rollout will disrupt transmission in schools.

Mr Morrison and state and territory leaders on Friday received updated modelling from the Doherty Institute which underpins a national agreement to reopen gradually when vaccine coverage reaches 70 and 80 per cent.

The institute argues it would be safe to open at the vaccine targets even if there are high case numbers in the hundreds.

But top-quality use of testing, tracing, isolating and quarantine needs to be maintained and small-scale lockdowns not ruled out even at the higher threshold.

NSW recorded another 1035 new local infections on Saturday and two further deaths in Sydney take the national toll to 993.

There were 64 cases in Victoria and 26 in the ACT.

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