Administering the COVID-19 vaccination

Administering the COVID-19 vaccination

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Insurance considerations for medical professionals in the COVID-19 pandemic

Professional indemnity and public liability insurance is a must for medical professionals such as doctors.

But no matter which policies you are covered by, it’s important to understand how your insurance works if you are vaccinating patients against COVID-19.

Doctors will typically be covered for administering the COVID-19 vaccination in the same way they are covered for other vaccines if they are a member of a Medical Defence Organisation (MDO) such as MDA National.

But make sure to closely check the policy to understand its terms and any conditions and exclusions. MDA National indicates vaccine manufacturers are responsible for certain claims related to adverse advents that don’t involve claims of negligence.

MDA National doesn’t expect general practitioners in private practice they are already covering to advise them they are administering the COVID-19 vaccine. Although doctors working in the public hospital who are administering the vaccine outside this environment should advise the MDO so appropriate cover can be put in place.

It also advises doctors who work in the public hospital system who are not an employee of the organisation to check whether they are indemnified by the hospital. Doctors who are coming out of retirement to deliver the vaccine are covered for free, says MDA National.

MDA National also recommends exploring whether a Practice Indemnity Policy may be appropriate to insure both the practice and its staff, who are typically not covered by MDA National’s policy.

Cover aside, it is important for health professionals to closely follow vaccine manufacturers’ instructions and protocols, for instance storing the vaccine at the specified temperature. This will help reduce any risks to which the GPs delivering the vaccine may be exposed.

Cover for allied health professionals

Additionally, while doctors are likely to be covered by their existing professional indemnity and public liability policies, people working in other areas of heath such as in a pharmacy are not likely to be covered if they deliver the vaccine, explains Gavan Duffy, Managing Director HDL.

“While in the past insurers have been prepared to cover allied health enterprises such as pharmacies for administering the flu vaccine, for instance, many policies exclude cover for
anybody involved in COVID vaccinations,” he says.

Duffy says it’s likely this solution will be resolved over time as insurers become more comfortable with the risks around the new COVID-19 vaccinations and amend their policies accordingly.

Duffy’s advice for allied health workers to obtain cover is to work with their broker to identify policies that do not have these exclusions. This is important with flu season coming up, given the exclusions can extend to regular vaccines such as flu shots, which are often administered by pharmacies or even nursing homes, especially in rural and regional areas.

Contact HDL for any assistance

Contact HDL for any further information, contact us.

The information provided in this article is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. If you require advice that is tailored to your specific business or individual circumstances, please contact HDL.

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