SINGAPORE — A total of 296 patients qualified for government financial aid after suffering serious side effects related to COVID-19 vaccines as of 31 December last year.
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH) in response to queries from The Straits Times on Friday (7 January), a total of $1,262,000 were paid out or are in the process of being paid out under the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (VIFAP) to those who experience serious vaccine-related side effects.
There are three tiers of financial assistance available to the patients, based on the severity of their side effects. Patients who die or develop severe permanent disability will receive the highest payout of $225,000; those admitted to a high dependency ward or intensive care unit, but subsequently recover, stand to receive $10,000; and those who require hospitalisation and medical intervention to recover will receive $2,000.
According to The Straits Times, the highest Tier 1 payout of $225,000 has been extended to two applicants so far. One of them was a 16-year-old boy who suffered a cardiac arrest after his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Straits Times added that both the payout quantum and number of applicants who qualified for the top tier remain unchanged since MOH's last update on VIFAP disbursements in August.
Financial assistance programme introduced in Jan 2021
VIFAP was introduced in January last year to provide financial assistance to people who experience serious vaccine-related side effects.
To qualify for the programme, an individual must be a Singaporean, permanent resident or long-term pass holder who was vaccinated under the national COVID-19 vaccination programme, in accordance with the recommendations of the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination.
The individual must have then experienced a serious side effect that required inpatient hospitalisation, caused persistent incapacity or disability, or was fatal, any of which was assessed by a doctor to be related to the individual's COVID-19 vaccination. Each application will be evaluated by an independent clinical panel appointed by MOH.
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