KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 – Seventeen patients have so far qualified for government financial aid after suffering serious side effects related to Covid-19 vaccines.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, in a written parliamentary reply Wednesday, said a total of RM195,000 was paid out under the “Special Financial Assistance Adverse Effects of Covid-19 Vaccine” scheme to those who experience serious vaccine-related side effects.
As of February 15, the MOH has received a total of 187 applications, of which 23 had been rejected and 147 still pending review, Khairy said in response to Machang MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakob’s question on the amount of “compensation” disbursed to date for adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) with the Covid-19 vaccine.
Out of the 147 applications that are currently being assessed, 86 are being evaluated by MOH’s Pharmacovigilance Committee that evaluates adverse reactions following immunisation, and 61 by the Technical Committee that judges the legitimacy of the aid application.
The MOH has set up three committees to determine the adverse reactions and safety issues related to Covid-19 vaccines: the Pharmacovigilance Committee, the Technical Committee, and the main committee. The latter gives the final approval for the special aid.
The National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) earlier clarified that government funds disbursed to people who suffer serious side effects after Covid-19 vaccination was not “compensation”, but simply “financial assistance”.
The Covid-19 vaccine injury scheme, introduced on March 22 last year, disburses “assistance” of not more than RM50,000 to “Covid-19 vaccine recipients” who suffer serious adverse effects that require long-term hospitalisation, as well as not more than RM500,000 for disability or death “caused” by the Covid-19 vaccine.
To qualify for the programme, an individual must be a Malaysian who was vaccinated under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK). The individual must have then experienced a serious side effect within three months from the date of inoculation.
A report on the serious side effect must be submitted to the NPRA by a health personnel who treated the patient. For deaths, an autopsy report should be included. Applications will only be considered within a year from when the AEFI was first reported.