If an individual suffers severe mental and/or physical disability after receiving a vaccination against a specified disease, they may claim a one-off compensation payment of £120,000 under the Vaccine Damage Payment Act 1979.

Entitlement to compensation under this state funded scheme is determined by the applicant demonstrating that they meet the test of 'severe disablement'. This is defined as 60% disablement and requires the applicant's treating clinicians to produce evidence in support of the application. The severe disablement must have been caused by a vaccination given in the United Kingdom.

The threshold of at least 60% disability to quality as severe disablement under the VDPA 1979 is very high, not least because the legislation specifies how disablement should be assessed, meaning that only the most extreme cases are likely to lead to recovery of compensation.

Claims can be made where a vaccine given to an applicant's mother before they were born caused them severe disablement, and where individuals acquired the disease from someone who was vaccinated against it. Claims can also be made by the personal representatives of a deceased person provided that as a result of a vaccination they were severely disabled immediately prior to their death.

The time limit to make an application is the later of six years from the date of vaccination or the date on which the applicant reaches the age of 21.

The VDPA 1979 means that compensation is available to those who suffer 'severe disablement' after receiving the coronavirus vaccine.

Under the Vaccine Damage Payments (Specified Disease) (Amendment) Order 2021 (SI 2021/508) a person who was aged 18 or over at the time the vaccination was carried out may be entitled to a payment in respect of damage resulting from a vaccination against influenza, other than influenza caused by a pandemic influenza virus. In such cases the vaccination must have been carried out on or after 24 May 2015 if the recipient was aged 18 or over at the time, or on or after 01 September 2013 if they were under 18 at the time.

The level of compensation available under the scheme is significantly lower than that which could be claimed in a successful medical negligence claim where general damages are assessed with reference to the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases. By way of example, the 17th Edition provides that general damages for total deafness or blindness will fall in the region of £493,000 which is much higher than the £120,000 that can be claimed under the Act. It is therefore advisable for anyone who has suffered an adverse reaction following a vaccination to seek legal advice on any potential claim.

Please note that we are not able to assist you with making an application under the Government’s Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme.

We can, however, consider whether there was any reason to prevent the administration of the vaccination to you and/or whether there are actionable issues with your management and/or treatment since your adverse reaction to the vaccination.

If you wish to discuss a potential clinical negligence claim with our specialist solicitors you can email us, contact us through our online enquiry form, or call us on 0800 008 7450.