S'pore teen who suffered cardiac arrest after Covid-19 jab undergoing rehab, gets $225k in financial assistance

The 16-year-old boy suffered a cardiac arrest on July 3, six days after receiving the vaccine. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A 16-year-old boy who suffered a cardiac arrest after his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine is recovering steadily, and has received $225,000 under the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (VIFAP).

This is the highest amount a person can receive through the programme.

The boy is currently undergoing inpatient rehabilitation and can perform his activities of daily living without assistance, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement on Monday (Aug 16).

"He will likely be discharged in the coming weeks, but will likely require outpatient rehabilitation for some time before he can return to school and resume other activities," it said.

The medical team will continue his treatment and monitor his condition, it added.

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.

MOH said last month that the teen had trained with "very heavy weights which were above his body weight".

He was in critical condition in the intensive care unit at the National University Hospital (NUH).

On Monday, MOH said 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.

The youth and his family will get a one-time payment of $225,000 under the VIFAP.

"The independent clinical panel appointed to assess and adjudicate the VIFAP application found that while he has made good improvement, because his condition was severe and critical, he will require treatment and rehabilitation for some time yet to continue his recovery," MOH said.

The ministry advised people to avoid strenuous physical activity for one week after receiving their first and second doses of the vaccine.

Individuals should seek medical attention promptly if they develop chest pain, shortness of breath or abnormal heartbeats, it added.

Those who developed myocarditis from their first dose of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines should also not receive further doses of it.

In a written parliamentary reply last month, 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.

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.

The payouts for VIFAP will be based on the highest quantum eligible, and individuals will be eligible for only one payout, regardless of hospital stay or treatment, said MOH.

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