Islanders who fell ill from COVID-19 vaccine ask for compensation from Jersey government

A number of islanders in Jersey are asking the government to introduce a compensation scheme for people who suffered severe adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine. 

One woman, who did not want to be named, developed a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome after she had her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

She was put into a coma shortly after the diagnosis and told ITV News that her life had drastically changed, describing her situation as "hell". 

She said it was "very frustrating when you can't lift your hand to switch a lightbulb on, you can't get up and go and answer the door - just things that people take for granted on a daily basis".

Adverse reactions to the vaccine are very rare but the UK has a compensation scheme, providing up to £120,000, for people who can prove they were "severely disabled".

ITV News understands that while 4,000 claims have not yet reached an outcome, 127 claimants have been told they are entitled to a payment

The Isle of Man is included in the scheme, but Guernsey and Jersey are not. 

The woman applied to the scheme but was told she was not eligible for compensation because she was "injected in Jersey and not in the UK".

An open letter by Jersey Advocate Philip Sinel, addressed to Chief Minister Kristina Moore calls for the government to "assist those harmed". 

It references a letter from 2020 written by then Health Minister Richard Renouf stating that claims for vaccine damage "would be dealt the same way as any other personal injury claim where the payment is not fixed". 

Despite that, no system has been established in Jersey.

Responding to the letter, Health Minister Karen Wilson said: "As with all vaccines, islanders will be asked to provide their consent before a vaccine is administered to them." 

She added: "Those who were vaccinated for COVID-19 provided consent on a number of different occasions.

"It’s really important that Islanders who contact us about harm they may have suffered as a result of COVID-19 vaccination know that we treat these matters with great importance.

"We have been working hard to establish how anyone who may have suffered harm caused by the vaccine can obtain dedicated support. 

"We are continuing to hold positive discussions with the UK Government to enable Islanders to access the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) which will allow Islanders who have had illness or injury which may have been caused by an MHRA approved COVID-19 vaccine to have their damages assessed".

Guernsey's government said: "Guernsey does not currently have an equivalent of the UK’s Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme.

"Officers are considering whether it might be appropriate or feasible to have such a scheme in future."

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