Vaccination is a crucial tool in the world’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Scientific studies around the world have shown that vaccines have a significant effect in reducing the chance of serious disease from being infected with COVID-19. For example, a study by Singapore’s National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) found that vaccines are 93 per cent effective in preventing hospitalisation, need for supplementary oxygen, and death from COVID-19.
The risk of getting serious side effects from the vaccine is generally low. Nonetheless, there is a small chance that some people may have serious side effects. If you have, you are eligible for compensation from the Singapore government. The Ministry of Health (MOH) provides payment to individuals who have had severe side effects from taking the COVID-19 vaccine in a scheme known as the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (VIFAP). In this article, we will take you through what the VIFAP is, how you know if you are eligible and what you can do to apply for it.
What is the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme?
The Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme, or VIFAP for short, provides one-off payments for individuals who have suffered serious side effects as a direct result of taking the COVID-19 vaccine in Singapore. If you are successful, you will receive a one-time payment which will vary based on the type of serious side effects that you have had. The payment is not meant to reimburse all medical charges from treatment for vaccine side effects.
Who Can Apply for VIFAP?
You can apply for VIFAP if you are a Singapore citizen, Permanent Resident (PR) or long-term pass holder. Eligible long-term pass holders include those with Long-term Visit Passes (LTVP), LTVP+, Student’s Pass (SP) and Dependant’s Pass (DP).
What Type of Vaccine Must I Have Taken to Be Eligible For VIFAP?
VIFAP covers individuals who have taken a vaccine recommended under the national vaccination programme in Singapore and have been assessed by a certified doctor to have had side effects from taking the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines that are officially recognised under the national vaccination programme are the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccines. However, if you have taken these vaccines overseas you will not be eligible for VIFAP.
You are not eligible for VIFAP if you have taken a vaccine that is not officially recognised under the national programme. This includes vaccines like Sinovac that are available under the Special Access Route (SAR). Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccines, there is less strong evidence from scientific trials to show Sinovac’s effectiveness in preventing serious disease from COVID-19.
If you have taken vaccines that have been accepted for use in other countries but not in Singapore, like the Johnson’s and Johnson’s Janssen and Astra-Zeneca vaccines, you are also not eligible for VIFAP compensation. Even if these vaccines have been approved by medical authorities in other countries, they need to have been approved for use in Singapore’s national vaccination programme.
What Is Considered a Serious Side Effect?
Serious side effects include side effects that have required someone to receive in-patient treatment in the hospital and/or causing permanent disability or death.
- If you have had to be hospitalised and required in-patient medical treatment for side effects you are eligible for a payment of $2000. This does not include visits to the A&E without being warded for in-patient treatment.
- If you have had to be admitted to a High Dependency Ward or Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and have since recovered, you are eligible for a payment of $10,000.
- If permanent damage to one’s health or death have occurred as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine, one is eligible for a payment of $225,000.
All applications will be reviewed by an independent panel to decide if the reported side effects are serious enough to be considered for VIFAP compensation.
How Do I Apply?
You can fill in the VIFAP application form online here. For your application to be considered, you must apply for compensation within three years of the date that you received the vaccination. Family members or guardians of the person applying for VIFAP are allowed to fill in the form on their behalf. If the person applying for compensation is under 21 years of age, a parent or legal guardian is required to fill in the form on their behalf.
The main application form is one page long and would take around 20-30 minutes to fill in. If you cannot submit the application form online, you may call the MOH hotline at 1800-333-9999 and request for a hardcopy application form to be mailed to you.
For your application you are also required to submit medical information by a certified doctor to prove that the side effects were serious. You may download the Request for Medical Information here. The form has to be completed by the primary doctor of the person who had received the vaccine. Your doctor may also provide other supporting documents as proof of the seriousness of the side effects. If you are submitting multiple documents, please .zip the documents into one file before you submit them.
With the current covid-19 situation, tomorrow is not promised. Thus, taking extra precautions of your well-being is of utmost importance.
If you are someone who has many health conditions that might make it difficult to take the vaccine, it can be hard to know if you are making the right decision. Our Care Pros at Homage can visit your house, preventing you from waiting a long time at the clinic to consult a doctor. As our Care Pros include trained doctors and nurses, they can help you address some questions you might have about the vaccines.
How Will I Know if My Application Is Successful?
Your application will take at least a month to process. The length of the processing time will also depend on how complex your side effects are. This is because the review panel will take a longer time to decide if they are eligible for compensation and how much. If you are successful, you will be informed of your application outcome by MOH via email or post. If you are eligible for compensation, MOH will further contact you to gain information about which account they should transfer the money to. Once this additional paperwork has been successfully completed, the money will be transferred into the bank account you have indicated.
What Do I Do if My Side Effects Get Worse After I Have Received the Payout?
If your side effects have become more severe after you have received your payout, or if your previous application was unsuccessful, you can have your application re-assessed by submitting this form here.
You are eligible to be reassessed if there has been new and additional information on the side effects experienced and/or a change in the vaccinated person’s medical condition. The same primary attending doctor that provided medical information for your previous application needs to provide new and additional information in the reassessment form. New and additional information about your side effects needs to be submitted by your doctor via the Request for Medical Information form. If the Request for Medical Information form is incomplete, your application will not be processed.
Your application for re-assessment must be submitted within 21 calendar days of the day that your Notice of Assessment indicating the outcome of your application has been received. For example, if you received your Notice of Assessment on 21 August, you need to submit the Application for Reassessment no later than 11 September.
Are There Other Ways to Get Vaccine Compensation?
If you wish to get additional coverage for COVID-19 vaccine side effects you can consider your private insurance providers. We will briefly go over some of the options private insurance providers offer for vaccine insurance:
AIA Vaccine Cover
AIA Vaccine Cover pays $500 a day for up to two days if you have been hospitalised from vaccine side effects. You can qualify if you have been hospitalised for at least 24 hours before discharge. Even if you have not been hospitalised for at least a day, you can receive a $500 lump sum payment if you have had to receive in-patient treatment in a hospital. The policy is open for Singaporeans up to 65 years of age for fuss-free coverage until 31 December 2021 if you apply by 31 October.
GREAT Vaccine Fund
Under the GREAT Vaccine Fund, Great Eastern provides $300 a day for up to seven days if you have been hospitalised as a result of serious side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. Coverage will be valid for three months for any COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved by the Health Sciences Authority or under the Special Access Route. This means that people who have taken the Sinovac vaccine are also eligible to receive payouts from the GREAT Vaccine Fund.
Raffles COVID Safe Cover
Raffles Health Insurance can provide reimbursement of up to $5,000 if you are hospitalised in Raffles Hospital as a result of COVID-19. The reimbursement covers a period of 7 days after each dose of the vaccine. You must sign up before or on the day that you receive your COVID-19 vaccine and the coverage starts from the day you receive your vaccine. You can apply for coverage through the Raffles Connect mobile app.
For more information on vaccine coverage options that your insurance provider offers, please check with your insurance provider directly.
Financial assistance to cover medical costs is also available for individuals who are struggling to pay the costs of treatment or hospitalisation. Medisave and Medishield can be used to cover the cost of hospitalisation from COVID-19 side effects. Some public healthcare institutions like hospitals may also offer subsidies to cover the costs of hospitalisation for those unable to afford it.
How Do I Know if It Is Safe for Me to Take the Vaccine?
It is understandable to be concerned about potential side effects of the vaccine, especially if you are older or have pre-existing medical conditions. You can arrange a consultation with your doctor to do a health checkup and ask if it is safe for you to take the vaccine.
When you seek information about COVID-19 vaccines and their effectiveness, please approach your medical provider. Your medical provider is your most reliable sources of accurate information about the vaccine. On the other hand, you may get information from family members or online sources claiming that the vaccine is not effective or causes widespread side effects. Check the reliability of information that you receive online against sources that are known to be credible like peer-reviewed scientific studies, advice from medical professionals and information provided by hospitals and other healthcare organisations. Do not spread any information you receive about the COVID-19 vaccine without first checking that it is true.
With the current pandemic situation, experts recommend that each one of us should get vaccinated. During this time of uncertainty, Homage can help you address questions you might have about the vaccine and conduct health screenings and send a private ambulance to take you to doctors’ appointments and vaccination centres. We can even provide respite care for you to recover from side effects.
And, if you’re looking for someone to care for your loved ones, Homage also provides caregiving services at every stage. Our trained care professionals are able to provide companionship, nursing care, night caregiving, home therapy and more, to keep your loved ones active and engaged.
Provide the best care to your loved one today! Fill up the form below for a free consultation with our Care Advisory team.
- AIA COVID-19 Vaccine Cover Plus. (n.d.). AIA Singapore. Retrieved August 21, 2021, from https://www.aia.com.sg/en/AIACovid19VaccineCover.html
- GREAT Vaccine Fund. (n.d.). Great Eastern, Singapore. Retrieved August 21, 2021, from https://www.greateasternlife.com/sg/en/personal-insurance/our-promotions-and-events/2021/covid19-coverage.html
- MOH | Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme for COVID-19 Vaccination. (n.d.). Ministry of Health. Retrieved August 19, 2021, from https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19/vaccination/vifap
- Raffles Health Insurance. (n.d.). Raffles COVID Safe Cover. Retrieved August 21, 2021, from https://www.raffleshealthinsurance.com/raffles-covid-safe-cover/
- Yong, M. (2021, July 7). Full COVID-19 vaccination provides 69% protection against infection by Delta variant: Singapore study. CNA. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/covid-19-vaccine-protection-against-infection-delta-variant-1987586