Highest financial aid of $225k paid to two patients for serious side effects from Covid-19 vaccine: MOH

A one-time payout will be given to those who experienced medically significant serious side effects. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Two patients suffering from serious side effects related to the Covid-19 vaccine have each received the highest payout of $225,000 in government financial aid so far, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

One of them is a 16-year-old boy who suffered a cardiac arrest after his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. The boy is currently undergoing inpatient rehabilitation.

"The Tier 1 payout of $225,000 has been extended to a total of two applicants so far, including this case," an MOH spokesman told The Straits Times late at night on Monday (Aug 16).

The spokesman did not provide details of the second case and whether it was related to the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine.

Under the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (VIFAP) rolled out earlier this year, a one-time payout will be given to those who experienced medically significant serious side effects. This is to give a greater peace of mind for those taking Covid-19 vaccination.

MOH added that a total of of $782,000 has been paid out, or is in the process of being paid out, to 144 applicants who have been assessed to have met the qualifying criteria for VIFAP.

MOH said on Monday (Aug 16) that the 16-year-old boy would likely be discharged in the coming weeks.

He is currently undergoing inpatient rehabilitation and can perform his activities of daily living without assistance.

The 16-year-old had collapsed at home following a gym weightlifting session on July 3, six days after receiving his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine. He had developed acute severe myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, which led to the cardiac arrest.

On Monday (Aug 16), MOH added that the myocarditis was likely a serious adverse event caused by the vaccine, which may have been aggravated by the youth's strenuous lifting of weights and high consumption of caffeine through energy drinks and supplements.

On its website, MOH said that the amount of financial assistance provided through VIFAP is fixed and dependent on the severity of the serious side effect.

These side effects are classified into three categories.

Those with the first type, which results in death or permanent severe disability, can receive a one-time payout of $225,000.

The second category, which applies to cases that require admission to high dependency or intensive care wards, with subsequent recovery, can get $10,000.

The last one, which applies to patients who need inpatient hospitalisation and medical intervention, with subsequent recovery, can get $2,000.

In a written parliamentary reply last month (July), Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that as at June 25, the authorities had approved $451,000 worth of financial aid under VIFAP to 102 applicants who had suffered serious side effects from the Covid-19 vaccine.

A month before in Parliament, then-Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said that the Government had approved 30 applicants to receive payouts under VIFAP.

Out of 104 applications, 45 had been rejected. Of the 30 successful applicants, there were 21 cases of hypersensitivity allergic reactions, four related to neurology, three to cardiology, one to haematology and one dermatology-related case.

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