State Government ordered to pay compensation for Covid-19 vaccine injury

A vaccine-injured South Australian dad and public servant had a groundbreaking legal win against the government.

In a landmark ruling, a state government employer will pay weekly compensation and medical bills of an Adelaide public servant who developed a heart condition from a reaction to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Daniel Shepherd, 44, developed pericarditis due to a rare reaction to his third dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. He needed the third shot before starting his job with the Department of Child Protection.

The decision was made in mid-January by the South Australian Employment Tribunal.

Tribunal documents show Mr Shepherd’s employer, South Australia’s Department for Child Protection (DCP), required him to receive a third dose of the Pfizer mRNA Covid-19 vaccine.

Mr Shepherd had the injection on February 24, 2022 and experienced escalating chest pain in the subsequent weeks, leading him to believe he was having a heart attack on March 11, resulting in him calling an ambulance.

The diagnosis revealed post-vaccine pericarditis, an inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart.

Mr Shepherd later filed a claim for weekly income support and medical expenses, which the State of South Australia initially rejected.

Initially, the State contested the connection between the vaccine and the injury but has since acknowledged that Mr Shepherd’s third vaccine dose caused the injury and subsequent incapacity for work.

Despite acknowledging that the third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine caused Mr Shepard’s injury, the State of South Australia sought other ways of contesting his claim on two grounds.

The state argued that the injury didn’t arise from his employment, as defined by the Return to Work Act.

The State also claimed the injury was linked to a direction under the Emergency Management Act.

According to the State, if the criteria under the Return to Work Act are met, the Emergency Management Act exempts them from any liability related to the injury and also shields them from any actions or oversights in managing the broader Covid-19 pandemic.

Judge Mark Calligeros, the SA Employment Tribunal’s deputy president, ultimately rejected the DCP’s arguments.

“The State required Mr Shepherd to be vaccinated to continue working in a healthcare setting because it sought to protect and reduce the risk of infection to the public and general and those members of the public receiving healthcare services in particular,” he wrote in his findings.

“It would be ironic and unjust if Mr Shepherd was denied financial and medical support by complying with the State’s desire to preserve public health.

“The rejection of Mr Shepherd’s claim should be set aside and it should be ordered instead that he receive weekly payments of income support and payment of medical expenses.”

Mr Shepherd discussed his current condition in an interview with 9 News.

“Even today with just mild exertion (I get) chest pains and then it’s followed by fatigue, like severe fatigue,” he said.

The father of a five-year-old said he had trouble keeping up with his young son.

“It’s heartbreaking to have to say “sorry buddy, Daddy’s tired,” he told the broadcaster.

Doctors were unanimous in his case that the vaccine was the cause.

Mr Shepherd has been experiencing symptoms of pericarditis for almost two years, despite the condition typically clearing up within a few months.

Judge Calligeros asked parties to submit draft orders that reflect the tribunal conclusion.

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