Only 30 who experience serious side effects of COVID-19 vaccines qualified for financial assistance, out of 104 applications: Minister Gan Kim Yong – The Online Citizen Asia

About 104 residents who experienced serious side effects related to COVID-19 vaccines have applied for financial assistance, but only 30 applications were qualified for compensation, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in Parliament on Tuesday (11 May).

Of the 30 applications, 21 were related to hypersensitivity or allergic reactions, four neurology-related cases, three cardiology-related cases, and one case related to haematology and dermatology each.

Mr Gan noted that 75 applications have been evaluated, 45 were rejected and the remaining 29 applications are still pending.

The Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Aljunied GRC Sylvia Lim posed a supplementary question to ask the Minister to clarify why the 45 applications were rejected.

In response to Ms Lim, Mr Gan said the applications were assessed by the panels based on “a balance of probability” and whether they are “more likely to be associated” with vaccination.

He explained that the 45 applications were not qualified as the severity did not meet the level of severe reactions required.

“Some of it may be rashes, maybe some swelling but does not require extensive medical care and therefore may not qualify for the application.

“So I think there are a variety of reasons so it suffices to say that they are all assessed thoroughly by the independent panel before they were approved or rejected,” said the Minister.

In his Parliamentary speech, Mr Gan revealed that the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has received about 2,796 suspected adverse event reports associated with the use of COVID-19 vaccines as of 18 April 2021.

These represent 0.13 per cent of the doses administered, but Mr Gan claimed the majority of the reports are “non-serious adverse events”.

“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,” he said.

According to Mr Gan, the most commonly reported adverse events include symptoms like 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,” he added.

Mr Gan further clarified that Singapore has not seen “any local cases of unusual blood clots associated with low platelets” that have been reported with other vaccines used overseas, adding that the HSA has also released the details of reported adverse events on 6 May 2021.

“HSA continues to actively monitor and review the safety of the 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.

“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,” he said.