30 who had serious Covid-19 vaccine side effects in S'pore to get financial help

As at May 9, 2021, about 1.8 million individuals had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - There have been 104 applications for financial assistance for those suffering from serious side effects related to Covid-19 vaccines, as at May 3.

Of these, 30 qualified for compensation.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told Parliament on Tuesday (May 11) that the 30 cases included 21 of hypersensitivity or allergic reactions, four neurology-related cases, three cardiology-related cases, and one case related to haematology (blood disorders) and dermatology each.

Another 45 applications were rejected and the remaining 29 applications are still pending.

In a ministerial statement on the Covid-19 situation, Mr Gan addressed various questions from MPs on the vaccines.

Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) of the Workers' Party (WP) had asked for the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme figures.

Mr Dennis Tan (Hougang), also a WP MP, had asked whether there are current studies by the health authorities to ensure that the currently approved Covid-19 vaccines do not come with the risk of rare blood clots seen in other vaccines in use elsewhere.

As at May 9, about 1.8 million individuals had received at least one dose of the vaccine, Mr Gan said. Of this number, about 1.2 million individuals have received their second dose and completed the full vaccination regimen.

Mr Gan said the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) had received 2,796 reports of suspected adverse events associated with the use of Covid-19 vaccines as at April 18. These represent 0.13 per cent of the doses administered.

He noted that the majority of these events are not serious.

"Only 0.004 per cent of our doses administered have reported serious adverse events. In general, the observed trend of adverse events within Singapore is consistent with those reported overseas," said the minister.

"The most commonly reported adverse events are not serious," said Mr Gan, adding that the symptoms include dizziness, fever, muscle ache, pain at the injection site, headache and allergic reactions.

"These symptoms generally resolve within a few days. Most of the patients here have recovered or are recovering from these adverse events."

In response to Mr Tan's question, Mr Gan said Singapore has not seen any local cases of unusual blood clots associated with low platelets that have been reported with other vaccines used overseas.

Mr Gan said the HSA released a report on the reported adverse events on May 6, adding that the report will continue to be published on a routine basis.

It can be found on both the HSA and the Ministry of Health (MOH) websites.

Mr Gan added that the HSA continues to monitor and review the safety of Covid-19 vaccines.

"In addition to monitoring reports from international regulatory counterparts, HSA also reviews reports from local healthcare practitioners on adverse events following vaccination regardless of whether causality can be established," he said.

"HSA has appointed three expert panels to review neurological, cardiac and hypersensitivity adverse events, such as anaphylaxis, which occur following vaccination. This will allow for prompt and appropriate actions to safeguard public health and enhance vaccination safety."

Read key highlights from the ministerial statements on Singapore's Covid-19 situation here.

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