The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed the Federal Government's no-fault indemnity scheme for COVID-19 vaccines.
The scheme gives employers, patients and health professionals confidence to administer COVID vaccines, with legal protections in place.
Under the scheme, injured patients can apply to Services Australia for Commonwealth funded compensation.
Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Dr Omar Khorshid welcomed the introduction of the program.
"This scheme is a vote of confidence in the safety of the vaccines being used in Australia and sends a strong message to patients that, in the extremely rare case of serious side effects, you can access compensation without having to resort to expensive and complex litigation.
"The new scheme will apply regardless of where you received your vaccine – whether it is at your local GP, state/territory run health service, workplace, or other approved health provider.
"The new scheme ensures that health care workers involved in the vaccine rollout are not put through distressing court processes for simply playing their role in administering lifesaving vaccines as part of Australia’s pandemic response.
"No fault vaccine compensation schemes are used around the world, recognising the community benefit of high rates of vaccination and the need for the community to look after the very small number of people who experience serious side effects," he said.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra added that the scheme allows businesses to finalise their vaccine programs.
"We’ve been advocating strongly for indemnity protections for employers so they can administer vaccines safely and confidently, and we’re pleased to see this scheme finally in place.
"Employers have been looking to the Federal Government for leadership and guidance on this matter, given the legal risks of workplaces administering jabs.
"This will now allow businesses to get on with finalising their workplace vaccination programs which will further improve take-up rates.
"The retail industry is strong and united in its support of getting as many Australians vaccinated as possible.
"We need to reach the 70 and 80% thresholds as quickly as we can to trigger the necessary freedoms for people and businesses in lockdown affected states.
"With the indemnity scheme in place, businesses can now play their part in accelerating Australia’s vaccine rollout," he said.