Out of more than 113,000 people in Singapore who received the COVID-19 vaccine to date, three have developed severe allergic reactions.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Thursday (28 Jan) that the three individuals, who are in their 20s and 30s, had exhibited symptoms such as rash, lip swelling, throat tightness, giddiness, and breathlessness as a result of reactions to the vaccine, also known as anaphylaxis.
While all three have had a history of allergies to food or allergic rhinitis, none have had a history to anaphylaxis. If they have had a known history of anaphylaxis, they would not have qualified to receive the vaccine.
Following the allergic reactions, MOH confirmed that the three have received treatment and have now been discharged from hospital.
According to figures, the incidence rate of anaphylaxis in Singapore is approximately about 2.7 per 100,000 doses administered, in line with rates reported in other countries.
MOH reiterated that the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risk of any potential adverse effects and that the Ministry will “closely monitor the safety of the vaccine and ensure the vaccines used in Singapore are safe for our population groups” as the vaccination programme is rolled out.
As of Wednesday (27 Jan), MOH revealed that it was aware of 432 “adverse event reports” from healthcare workers. The symptoms such as injection site pain and swelling, fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, giddiness, nausea, and allergic reactions (such as itch, rash, swelling of eyes or lip) were not unexpected and passed on their own after a few days.
In addition, the Ministry has unveiled a new scheme, the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (the Programme), to provide financial aid to those who may, unfortunately, develop serious side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine. Although these potential side effects will be rare, the scheme will act as a safeguard, and will cover citizens, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders.
The Programme is anticipated to provide the following tiers of financial support:
- A one-time payout of up to S$10,000 will be provided to an eligible individual who is hospitalised requiring care in the High Dependency or Intensive Care Unit but subsequently recovers from medically significant serious side effects.
- A one-time payout of S$225,000 will be provided to an individual who dies or suffers permanent severe disability as a result of COVID-19 vaccination.
To qualify for the Programme, the individual must have received the vaccine in Singapore and must have experienced a potentially life-threatening or fatal side effect that required inpatient hospitalisation or had otherwise caused persistent incapacity or disability.
An independent panel has been assembled to assess and adjudicate the applications for the Programme.